Text By Susanna Hill
Aversion Management – a small exhibition currently mounted at the Rogue Project Space in the centre of Manchester – is about work. Work; a current (or perhaps interminable) obsession for Manchester following the do it series at Manchester Art Gallery this summer. Here it is manifest in the approach to commissions: each of the artists presented in the show were required to hit progress targets in order to qualify for the maximum fee. This awareness, combined with the environment of the converted warehouse, provides us with the first reminiscence of the Cubist artists; the youthful Picasso and Braque would show up at their dealers’ gallery dressed in overalls and ask for their days wages. This is a concrete and conscientious art, fitting snugly in with current concerns for workers and wages.
The room features three artists. Hannah Dargavel-Leafe‘s offering brings the Cubist’s concern for Henri Bergson’s theories into a ‘4D space’. Her construct(ion) consists of a repeating form of lines and transparent planes that recede and shrink into the corner of the largest piece. Bergson’s theories influenced art through a philosophy of objects set within time and space, and Dargavel-Leafe chooses to present this through the play of light which sends ephemeral patterns across the low lit walls of the room.
The most subtle work in the room comes from Adam Renshaw whose installation piece was commissioned to become a permanent part of the gallery space. This is performance based; although we do not see the artist working, the resultant piece testifies to his appropriating a builders practice in laying a tarmac boundary around the edges of the room. The line describes the artists journey around the room as well as acting as a framing space for those encountering the exhibition.
However, both of these works suffer slightly from sharing the space with the third work. Thomas Yeomans‘ video Eternal September commands attention, partly because it is a video, but mainly because it is brilliant. The film is about a moment in 1993 when ‘Usenet’ – a forerunner of the internet – was launched into the public domain, but even without this information there is no doubt as to what it is about. The film is utterly familiar and yet beautifully (and I really mean beautifully) refreshing. It offers a commentary on how the Western community today surrenders so easily to the shaping of behaviour and thoughts through sound and imagery, but does so through a dance of quotations that is undeniably challenging and enjoyable. The familiar formats of film trailers, music videos and news reports, workout videos and beauty adverts, as well as the more intimate staged scenes from a ‘drama’ are choreographed around a soundtrack of dance music, 90s pop, symphonic film music, an Islamic call to prayer and silence.
Time, space and behaviour are rounded together in this exhibition; a real delight and – in my view – one that could be considered a contemporary Cubist show.
Aversion Management is on display until 6 October 2013 by appointment, and will be open during the Rogue Open Studios 27 – 29 September 2013.
Susanna Hill is a writer and PhD candidate at the University of Manchester, considering the collecting of Outsider Art in the UK. She is also working part time at Manchester Art Gallery.
Image by Emily Reid.