The Royal British Society is providing the opportunity to view the latest potential break through in British sculpture this summer. I ♥ 3D, hosted down the street in the South Kensington Christie's gallery, is exhibiting a varied collection of work by emerging artists employing a seriously difficult medium for self expression.
Sex makes its usual appearance here, with several slightly entertaining, self-explanatory works. A rotating, rising and falling strip light, slinking a pair of red underpants down its length, by Slade and RCA graduate Mark Davey, works away, silently suggestive, in one corner. Davey has claimed that his work often 'does what it says on the tin', and entitled Hung this piece brings to mind very literal sexual imagery, ideas of industrialised sex, pornography and sleaze. Fellow RCA graduate, Barnaby Barford likewise continues the probing of our sex lives with the sly You'd do it if you loved me: a pastoral scene inspired by Hogarth's modern moral paintings, depicting a small male figurine lovingly whispering into his sweetheart's ear, with a wee porno magazine lying at his feet: a nice ironic reminder of the conflicts between classical love and lust.
Added to this is a strong presence of very tactile works, including Claudia Borgna rigging up gathered and fanned sheets of plastic-bag to hang down from the gallery ceiling like rain-heavy clouds, whilst Julie Major has installed compact, shell-like structures that line the gallery walls. Major states that one such piece, Crown, is a trophy, an object made for a lover, and it looks like it could draw blood - like a ring of spinal bones that have grown defensive spikes. These are all very attractive objects that do draw in a closer, if brief, look to see how they might be constructed. But perhaps the most successful of these works is Cuffs by Katie Surridge, who moves away from the pretty, employing rougher and potentially more potent materials. Gluing horse cuffs to large horse feeders and lining them with fox and rabbit fur, she has created a pile of large, carefully constructed objects which form a very heavy, significant looking pile on the gallery floor. Somehow, these creations are rather atmospheric and aesthetically pleasing in their animal connections, and the piece seems unusual.
Arguably it is Nick Hornby's The present is just a point, which actually holds something back from the viewer, that forms the most interesting work of this exhibition. Messing with the observer's point of view, Hornby has constructed a piece that initially appears solid, a square of carved fabric lifted upwards into a sharp point. It is beautiful, but looking directly downwards on the point, an image of Michaelangelo's David appears at your feet, formed in the folds of the sculpted 'material'. This is a question of perspective and point of view - from what angle, and in what light should we view this image of human perfection? It seems that Hornby is attempting to probe the relationship of orientation and meaning, and it's executed in an extremely elegant visual form, that brings to mind architectural forced perspective.
Although there is nothing truly unexpected here, these are some entertaining and interesting works to explore, and this is at least something that is attempting to excite and flourish, beyond the celebity portraits that line the main Christie's hall.