This evening I went to the opening of a new exhibition, Shadow vs Rumour at the Max Wigram Gallery, featuring Mexican artist Jose Davila. This is his first solo exhibition which explores “notions of logical and illogical systems of thought and perception” His works draw references from Dan Flavin’s neon sculptures. However, the fluorescent tubes which are the main subject of Flavin’s work has been completely removed, leaving just the cut out shape of the tubes and the neon glow that would have surrounded them. This makes us question the importance of the subject and forces the viewer to draw from memory in order to fill in the void.
In the back room, another artist’s work is on display. Valeska Soares, Brazilian born, New York based. Her work is at first glance decorative, like an exercise in composition and colour. Discarded and found antique book dust jackets and covers are used as a collage in a geometric composition on unprimed linen canvas. As I look closer at the book titles, that’s when I’m drawn into the canvas, as I make sense of the text. There is no sense nor meaning, but my brain is constantly digging into my memory bank to make sense of the book references. I guess that’s part of the viewers artistic process.(?)
As I was pondering her work, I struck up conversation with the person next to me if he could make sense of it all. I, a huge fan of books, had to share my personal anger at the thought that someone tore up perfectly good books in the name of art. Well, we came to the conclusion that they were old books in a bad condition that this artist resurrected new life into.