ORGAN THING: Opening night of Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, an imagined paradise or…

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, Hackney Road, London E2, January 10th 2017 – Busy in here for a cold Tuesday night at the start of January, busy in here for any time of the year, a busy opening night at the previously unnoticed (by us at least) East London gallery – a very white-walled space hiding in plain sight above a red fronted shop behind a bus stop on the Hackney Road, just along from Cambridge Heath station on the borders of Hackney and Bethnal Green… .

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

Up the very white stairs and there’s that familiar sound of people in an art gallery on an opening night, that hum of conversation and that buzz of anticipation. Here we go then, first art show of the year (the withdrawal yips were starting to bite). Busy in here, it really is a case of trying to glimpse through the bodies and see what that might be on the floor (a busy gallery is a good thing of course). There are videos running (we’re told there’s sound), we can’t really see or hear them, is that red chair on a paradise beach? Is that water?  We need a slice of paradise, an escape from the realities and the feeling of things to come, Trump takes over next week, we need a daydream or two, they’re threatening snow for tomorrow, they just gave Nigel his own radio show… .

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

Busy in here, hard to see what is actually going on, is that a pool of blue water? “Olivia Strange’s work Cornu copia copia topia of your broken lusty (2016), will open the show, it recalls an imagined paradise with a bright red lounge chair atop a blue water floor made from resin; footage of palm trees swaying in the wind illuminates the Trinitron television cubes, while large sculptures made from cement and wax appear tree-like. Upon closer inspection, however, the red chair becomes a distorted office chair, the palm trees are blown by gail-force winds, and the large sculptures merely the legs of office furniture anchored in cement. Ultimately the fantasy, an office daydream, is consumed by the banality of everyday life”

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Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

It would appear that there’s more to come as the exhibition evolves, promises of a chair as a result of a fascination for Kurt Vonnegut’s description of a butterfly chair next. Andrea Williamson’s version is a beautifully crafted wooden chair, covered with intricately hand-painted, motorised butterflies,is to appear as the show evolves…

“Cacotopia, a group exhibition, five artists working with multi-media installation. The exhibition will unfold over the course of five weeks, each week featuring a new artist, and will bring to light contemporary perspectives on feminism, ecology, celebrity culture, politics and professionalism”. The participating artists are Olivia Strange, Andrea Williamson, Soo Choi, Olivia Hernaiz, and Ruth Waters. This ambitious programme will transform the gallery into an active space for participation. Each Wednesday a new installation will be encountered, and can be viewed through to the following Saturday. The exhibition will run from the 11th of January until the 11th of February”.

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

Do we only have the work of one artist in here tonight then? Is that an inviting red chair on pond on an island, a pond in the palms, is this the work of just Olivia Strange?  A tropical island, a maybe not quite so inviting red chair after all? And those palm trees on the video screen? A suggested dystopia, a holiday resort? The idea of luxury being nothing more than a thin veneer, an illusion constructed from he most ordinary of materials. Bling being nothing but tinfoil? Trump’s wig? Is it water? We can’t quite see, busy in here tonight.  Hard to really see, need to come back in the daytime, see how it all looks in the cold light of day, need to come back every week, it rather looks like it might be worth it Something more than a thin veneer? A rather ambitious show hiding in plain sight above a shop, by a bus stop on the Hackney Road, an evolving set of installations that needs to be seen without all the elbows and the bodies. Good to see a gallery full, that buzz of anticipation, a show to return to and engage with over the next few weeks then, looks like it might be rather good, a little more underneath that surface maybe… (sw)

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Olivia Strange, Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, January 2017

STOP PRESS:  A return in the cold light of the next day to explore Olivia Strange’s installation for the first week of  Cacotopia, for it is all her work that occupies the very white gallery space at the moment (a new artist ever week until February 11th, Olivia is the first).  Good to go back in the daytime and enjoy an almost empty gallery. The first thing that strikes (besides the smell of a freshly painted very white gallery) is the sound, the sound is vital to this piece, the various fractured noises from the various video screens and monitors. The piece and the room really does become rather powerful when left to breath, when the view er is left to contemplate – the elements, the pina colada, the broken office furniture…

Annka Kultys Gallery, is at Unit 3, 1st Floor, 472 Hackney Road, London, E2 9EQ.  The exhibition will run from the 11th of January until the 11th of February. Viewing Hours Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 6pm.

Click on an image to enlarge, run the slide show and get a little bit of flavour…

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One thought on “ORGAN THING: Opening night of Cacotopia at Annka Kultys Gallery, an imagined paradise or…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN THING: Week two of Cacotopia, Andrea Williamson at Annka Kultys Gallery… | THE ORGAN

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