Salt Fields? The first formal show at Elements Gallery opens tonight. We’re promised a unique urban outdoor space, an exciting new space presented in a rather formal way, a dedicated outdoor curated contemporary art gallery.
Based in Hackney, Elements can be found in the grounds of their sister gallery Lubomirov/Angus-Hughes. The Lubomirov/Angus-Hughes gallery can be found up on the boarders of Clapton, on the edges of Hackney, London E5. Elements promises to be unique.
There have been other outdoor London galleries of course, the annual “open” at Terrace (a space where artists are invited to hang pieces for one day and then leave the art in the the outdoor space exposed to the elements until that one day of the following year when more art is added) comes to mind, as do the recent open white wall shows on Mare Street, and that’s before we touch on the notions of sculpture parks or the more formal aspects of street art and the organised open spaces that go with those practices. Elements just might be unique though and contemporary art rather need a “formal” outdoor space, a formally curated space, presented in that “proper” way that can sometimes be annoying when confined inside white cubes, a “proper” way that might jsut be the vital key to the excitement of Elements..
Elements is promising, Elements opens tonight, Friday April 8th, with a show called Salt Fields No3 by Phillip Hall Patch, here come the formal details and a rather wordy press release that for once kind of fits in with what really need to be a rather formal space. .
Salt Field No3 by Phillip Hall Patch is the inaugural exhibition at Elements Gallery London, a unique urban space and the city’s first dedicated outdoor art gallery, based at Lubomirov / Angus-Hughes in Hackney”. Taking inspiration from the seasons, and allowing Mother Nature to play a collaborative role, Salt Field No3 is a dramatic dissolving sculpture made of salt. Conceived specifically as an installation of salt blocks, it creates a pristine white canvas upon which the elements impose a transformative, visual narrative of Spring in East London. Rather than resisting the elements in the way we have come to expect of
traditional sculpture, Salt Field No3 challenges this notion and embraces the effects of the sun, rain, wind and city pollution. Continually eroding and crystallizing, the surfaces register different climatic conditions over time, such that no two viewings of the work will be the same. The salt blocks used for this project are commercially manufactured, formed
from mined salt that is refined then compressed under high pressure. The pure, white, marble-like blocks have the density of engineering bricks and a smooth texture that initially contrasts starkly with the urban courtyard space of the gallery. The audience is encouraged to participate and engage with the work as the salt dissolves under the influence of environmental forces, bearing witness to its evolving story through their own observations and photography and creating a dramatic timeline of transformation on social
media. A vital element for life, every cell of the human body contains salt – without it, cells could not obtain nourishment and would die. As a means of food preservation salt has always been linked to our survival and has long been laboriously produced wherever environmental conditions allow, including stretches of the British coastline in Roman times. The word “salary” dates from that epoch, when soldiers were given an allowance to buy salt; its importance and value are also preserved in many other phrases such as “salt of the earth”, “worth one’s salt”, “a pinch of salt” and “below the salt”. Its cultural significance is truly ancient – it was used in preserving Egyptian mummies and still plays an important role in many religious and social rituals, symbolizing purity. Salt Field No3 may also be interpreted as a social comment on sustainability, drawing parallels between the erosion of the sculpture and the erosion of the natural and man-made landscape
About the Artist
Phillip Hall Patch is the first artist selected to exhibit at Elements Gallery London. Phillip was a chosen artist for the HOUSE Brighton Festival 2014, along with Yinka Shonibare MBE, and has also exhibited at APT Gallery, London, and Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He is Principal Lecturer in Architecture at Brighton University, Senior Consultant Project Leader for Thomas Heatherwick Studio and is also undertaking MA studies in the aesthetic representation of sculpture.
Elements Gallery London can be found at at Lubomirov / Angus-Hughes, 26 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 OPD