Thursday, May 18, 2006


It looks like a huge pair of pants, but I don't think it is.
We are in the gallery downstairs at flaca, looking at a piece of work by Karla Black.
It certainly does have a pants-like shape. It's some sort of clear plastic, with a residue like pva in it. Some of it is leaking out onto the floor. It's both messy and formal at the same time. Mmmm, yum.
I talk to Tom Woolner. I've seen him around doing tech work at the ICA but we've never chatted before. So now we do. He talks about that careful balance one has to keep when doing tech work in galleries. Don't do too much for extended periods. Don't forget about your own work. Don't get bitter from installing other people's work. Sound advice, I think.
John Hayvend arrives. He has broken his glasses so the world is in soft focus to him. I ask him what he thinks of the small sculpture piece on the wall and, of course, he hasn't seen it all. I point it out and he peers at it. A tiny lifesize tip of a finger. I think this is Sally Osborn's work. It is enormously beautiful and quietly impressive.
We go and stand outside for a bit. Matt Bryans is there, drinking from a coconut. Seriously. There's a guy selling big green coconuts. I'm a big fan of Matt's work and ask if he has anything coming up. And he does: there's a show in Atlanta. So I guess I'll miss that, then. While we are talking, by chance, some friends of John's arrive. There's lots of hellos and they head inside to look at the work. Then suddenly they are back out again and then John and I head back down for drinks.
And downstairs it's Lisa Penny, back on the scene. (She missed my opening because of an injury to her foot, but I see no evidence of a limp. Surely she should be on crutches, no? Barely able to walk?? Not even out of hospital yet, I'm thinking...) She's fine, but adding a suffix to everything she says of: 'and don't put that in your blog, ok? You can't repeat that.' Except on one occasion, when she says, 'you really ought to put that on.' But now I can't remember what it was she said...
Anyway, there's no time to ponder because Dallas Seitz arrives! Dalles runs 1000000mph and I've seen him a few times at various shows but we've never met. We do tonight. But only after he has regaled us all with a huge story involving an artist, some bailiffs and some very odd behaviour - none of which, for legals reasons, I can repeat...
Lisa introduces Brian Reed and Tom Ellis, part of a group who are planning to go to Berlin later in the year and make work and present a show. And, ah ha, now with Lisa it's 'why don't you come and blog that - we're all London artists, go on....'
We'll see.
Someone who can't see, of course, is John. He's gone back up to check on the people he met from earlier. And it's the last I see of him tonight.
I check in with Tom Humphreys to tell him how much I like the show. I ask if Sue Tompkins is going to do any performance. 'No. She's a bit burnt out after Beck's.' I'm not surprised. Most of those I've spoken to have been surprised at how gruelling the whole Beck's experience is. Sue's work is on the walls of the gallery down here. It's great stuff. 'This work is full on. It's great.' I tell Tom. 'Yeah,' he says. 'You can tell they all talk to each other.' It's a very good way to describe the dynamics between the work on show here. All three artists are working at the extreme edge. Any further and there'd be no work at all.
It's subtle and in your face at the same time. Delicate, disintegrating, almost disappearing, but lying like an iron bar in my memory.


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