A Monday morning Organ thing of the day? How about some footage of oldschool hardcore proper punks Oi Polloi defiantly taking themselves to the banks of the Thames at low tide this weekend just gone? Or maybe the delight to be found behind the yellow door of conceptual artist Pablo Delgado‘s latest London show….
So what to make of the current Pablo Delgado show at London’s Howard Griffin gallery? What is through that intriguing inviting yellow door? Wikipedia tells us (in that fractured broken-English way Wikipedia tells us things), that “Pablo Delgado is a Mexico-born London-based street artist that emerged in 2011 to quickly became a well-known London street artists. Since 2012 he has been decorating East London’s street corners with his inventive and humorous miniatures”.
Those pavement level miniature figures certainly caused a “buzz” of delight a couple of years back, he quickly became the latest street art name to drop. I guess it would have been rather easy to conservatively throw a collection of the small figures in to an Ikea frame or two and have an eager queue of street art collectors lining up around the block a couple of hours before the opening waiting for a piece to be hung next to their painted tin can or that limited edition print from that bloke who paints big letters that got released at Upfest last year. Delgado’s 2014 show at the Howard Griffin might have given us a clue to two, there just might be something that’s a little more than just another street artist with a graphic-y gimmick here. With is 2014 show Delgado “wanted to make an exhibition that looks as though it isn’t there, so when you walk in it doesn’t look as though there is an exhibition, you see nothing, but when you look around at the details you can see there are narratives and stories going on.”
And so what is behind that yellow door? If you have a chance to go they you should probably duck out of this review at this point. Stop reading, don’t look at the photos, don’t read any more, just get on that bus or overground train and go explore through the yellow door for yourself.
Spoiler warning out of the way, this show is brilliant, a triumph, the temptation is to let out a loud delighted “Yes!” in the pitch-black darkness broken only by low-powered torch light and the occasional paint can behind the door. And you do need a torch (provided at the door before you go in), we really are in the dark in here.. This is a show that throws up questions, that makes demands, a show that questions the audience and the notions of art, the gallery, a show that finds Delgado questioning himself,what the hell is going on in here? is this bit part of it? is it open? What is he about? Where’s the big owl?
“Pablo Delgado is a conceptual artist from Mexico. Delgado is concerned with minimising and reducing his work to its smallest expression, often employing the use of negative space, light and shadow to explore absence. At the same time, his work focuses on interaction, engagement and an active participation with the viewer. Opens Tomorrow Morning acts as a sequel to the artist’s previous exhibition, Even Less. At the same time, it represents a turning point in the artist’s oeuvre as he moves away from the primacy of the art object towards an ever increasing conceptualism”
A fictional world within a gallery? A gallery within a gallery? Spaces broken up, a completed thing that isn’t ready yet? A show that maybe opens tomorrow? Did we get here early? Were we let in by mistake? A big owl yet to be painted? A completed work that sure won’t be completed by tomorrow morning? Brilliant! Love it!
“Opens Tomorrow Morning will be a constructed fiction in the form of a gallery within a gallery. Within the Inside Gallery, Delgado has staged a fictional exhibition, simulacrum. As they move through a series of enclosed spaces, the viewer is invited to discover an exhibition that ‘opens tomorrow morning’, as if they have stumbled in the night before the installation is complete. Visitors must negotiate the space in almost complete darkness as the exhibition builds around them”
I guess if you missed the previous show in the London branch of the Howard Griffin Gallery, you might be expecting to politely take in a show of “street art”, a collection of “stuff” for sale (he’s certainly confused the other two people in here, “where’s the art?” says one, “come on, let’s get out of here, this is taking the piss” replies the other) is he taking the piss? No, this is a delight, this is indeed “self-referential” and “interrogating the role of the artist” – this is interrogating the role of the viewer, of the gallery, of the art dealer, the collector, this is a triumphant show, a show that throws so many questions at so many people, a curveball of a show, a show that makes me want to hug Pablo Delgado and say thank you, YES! BRILLIANT! LOVE IT! (SW)
Opens Tomorrow Morning by Pablo Delgado runs a the Howard Griffin Gallery, Shoreditch, London, until 1st Nov 2015. Find the gallery over the road from the foot of Redchurch Street at 189 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6HU.
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