Presented over the organisation’s two spaces, the exhibition is a sculptural installation in two parts developing from the abstract potential of language and shape, and conflicting tension and positivity within sensory stimuli.
As two words Private Secretaries are metonymic for language’s (and the societal conditions which shape it) never ceasing development. What, not long ago, stood as a perfectly respectable profession, now sounds archaic, almost dirty. Words never sit still, and it is these lines imbued with shifting meaning that is at the core of Hall’s exhibition. The secretaries referred to within the title worked in part towards the task of abstraction – noting both the spoken word and long form text to shorthand, an abstraction to indeterminable line for the uninitiated, but also a condensing, distilling and interpretation.
The labour of these woman hangs in the air of the installation, like the fragrance of a person who has since left the room, not directly referring or instructing works, but neither indivisible either. Screens suspended within the gallery present a graphic and material in-between-ness, marked with shapes deriving from the Rorschach test, the shapes are simultaneously the most abstract of abstraction (offering to speak more of abstraction in a historical sense too), yet some of the most potentially loaded forms possible. Their materiality though clearly domestic in nature, is indeterminate, unclear of original purpose, if there was one. Slight twinges of recognition occur, quickly subsumed into the remainder of the work. Ribbons, moving and charting lines vertically again seem to be interpretable – this time as words, but defy a reading, slipping in and out of focus like your eye scanning between foreground and background.
Leave the gallery and cross the yard.
In the warehouse, an X marks the centre, sitting in a way that belies its indicative weight, positioned so as you might infer its location carries some significance, or one X of many liberally sprinkled through communications. The X, a pool, offers a focal point to the space, inviting as a staging post for the forthcoming social interactions of the preview night. It’s intended to be inviting, to stimulate and sooth senses. Like the stranger washing your hair at the hairdressers, it’s pretty good if you let yourself get into it.
Private Secretaries as an exhibition, offers a scenario or set of conditions. The space is activated through installation, but the viewer completes the environment. Its potential fulfilled, and definition shifting, through the interpretation and sensory engagement of the person inhabiting the space at any given time.
Private Secretaries is the second exhibition of Annex, David Dale Gallery’s 2017 exhibitions programme. Annex is a series of five exhibitions over the year, in which each exhibition is a solo presentation across the organisation’s two spaces. These exhibitions are punctuated by commissioned texts, intended to function as the journey from exhibition to exhibition. The text produced for the space between Rob Chavasse’s exhibition and Lauren Hall’s will be available soon. Annex will continue in July with an exhibition curated by Sofia based organisation Swimming Pool.
Lauren Hall (b.1983, Canada) lives and works in Glasgow. Recent exhibitions include, Real Boy, Voidoid Archive, Glasgow (2016); Wicked Problem, Salle des Machines – Friche la Belle de Mai, Marseille, FR (2016); That’s Genetic, 16 Nicholson St., Glasgow (2015); Felt, Erin Stump Projects, Toronto, CA (2014); Comfortably Warm, Glasgow International, Glasgow (2014).