Using A Sprat To Catch A Mackerel

30 Oct 2009 – 30 Nov 2009

Event times

Open Friday and Saturday 12-6pm throughout November

Cost of entry



London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Buses 53, 453, 36, 436, 171, 177
  • Same street as New Cross Station, (go out, turn left, 5 minute walk), close to New Cross Gate, Deptford Bridge (DLR)

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Using A Sprat To Catch A Mackerel


Dmitri Galitzine Daniel Kelly Ben Washington Using a sprat to catch a mackerel, there's a reassuring practicality to the phrase. It feels as if who ever came up with it knew how to get a job done and they've been kind enough to let you in on a trade secret. Like when you found out that adding fairy liquid to cement makes it take longer to go off. It has something of the aspirational to it but is not over blown. It's not like your using a sprat to catch a Jaguar shark. There's a slow but steady philosophy built in there somewhere. Dmitri Galitzine's work reveals aspects of character you'd as readily identify with the hunter as you would the artist. He connects with that particular psyche. Not with the glamour or machismo of the hunter killer, but with the bits that would otherwise be considered slightly broken, the obsessive seeking nature, the need for loneliness, the repetition; the eccentricities that when allowed to flourish in the guise of the hunter become assets rather than hindrance's. Add to that the superfluous bits, the bizarre hunting and training aids, the shooting targets, the duck callers and you begin to understand why he can often be found in the plastic frog isle at B&Q. Mackerel are a good honest fish. Not only are they nutritionally sound, but they are also a good, some say great, source of Omega three. It's a little known fact that they are well known for their fighting ability. The largest species of mackerel is the King Mackerel, which can grow up to 66 inches or 1.68 meters. This is massive. Daniel Kelly began his working life in the water town of Buxton. Manning a small market stall time would slowly pass, punctuated by the sale of a knocked off video (maybe Teen Wolf, maybe Robocop) or the odd second hand jazz mag. In those drawn out hours there was a lot of time for the mind to go wandering. And wander it did. Through the rooms and corridors of his mind he happily ambled. It was these wanderings that led to the work that Kelly now makes. The images he makes are pieced together from torn fragments of grand old rooms and palatial halls. Though seeming to celebrate the grandeur of the spaces he represents the very rips and tears that are essential to the creation of the image always threaten to unmask the illusion. Dealing with all these things Kelly's work is still in some ways simply about finding something with a bit more refinement and delicacy than a well thumbed copy of the Razzle. Little is known about the sprat. Wikipedia turned up a blank and the other website I tried to use crashed my computer. They are mainly found in cans. They are an important Latvian export. Ben Washington's work makes you feel a bit like you've been rubbed up with the rough end of the pineapple. It's a somewhat ugly experience but somehow has an appeal. It should fall apart. It's usually made from crap. Old bits of furniture, scrap paper, things people don't want anymore. Somehow it manages to defy it's own nature and keep standing, hanging, balancing. Any which way it can, it does it precariously. Using what it has to loosely represent landscapes and other less identifiable things, even the materials themselves add to the confusion of objects and representations. I would definitely use a sprat to catch a mackerel.


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