Cacotopia 03, Week One, Martin Nemes at Annka Kultys Gallery, Hackney Road, East London, December 2018 – First you’re going to need a little in terms what’s actually going on here, what we have is the third year of Cacotopia, a now annual event at Annka Kultys Gallery. The gallery is hiding in plain sight above a non-discript shop on the Hackney Road just around the corner from Cambridge Heath railway station, and as someone else pointed out at the opening, the place has a been a much needed breath of fresh air over the last couple of years, one of the more reward of East London#s galleries right now. We’re told Cacotopia “is a group exhibition of works by five recent art graduates working in multimedia, installation and performance”, but that can be a little confusing, what actually happens is each artist gets to have the gallery to themselves for a week.
“This third edition of the now annual show, a shoe that follows the format established by the gallery’s successful first and second Cacotopia exhibitions, will unfold over the course of five weeks, with a new artist featuring each week. The works on display will explore, amongst other themes, perspectives on trans-generational trauma, social interaction, algorithmic learning and digital painting. The artists featured in CACOTOPIA 03 are Daria Blum (Central Saint Martins), Johanna Flato (Royal College of Art), Rui Lin (Goldsmiths University of London), Marton Nemes (Chelsea College of Art) and Aaron Scheer (Gothenburg School of Design and Crafts)”.
“Martin Nemes will open the exhibition, presenting a number of newly developed, wall-based paintings and installations inspired by the architecture of night clubs, escapism and stage design. The paintings are realised within bulky, steel and wooden structures, hanging and interacting with and in the gallery space. Bright, illusive colours and the use of fluorescent lighting throughout the works, reference mind altering experiences and distorted realities, creating paradoxical contrasts of materials, palettes and finishes”
Now there’s all kind of debate to be had about the way the gallery system works and how everything is far too focused on art schools and the fifteen minutes there after, about the all or or nothing of it all, the graduate show and how gallery people never ever look beyond the latest churn from the art shools while never ever showing up for any of the artist-led shows and such that happen right there on their doorsteps – if you haven’t get the attention of the system when you graduate then you may as well forget it. There’s all kinds of arguments about how artists, on the whole, don’t really have much of a clue until they’ve left the art school safety net and lived and worked and survived and tried to make art in the real world for half a dozen years or so, only then do they really start to produce something exciting, only then can we really consider them as serious committed artists of substance with something to really seriously to offer, that’s when they really need things like this to happen but by then as far as the system and galleries like this are concerned, they’re on the scrapheap. This really isn’t the time for those arguments though and not to say things like Cacotopia aren’t worthwhile, far far from it, the previous Cacotopia shows have been extremely rewarding, there’s been some excellent work, we were looking forward to this year’s show…
And this first bite of Cacotopia year three is already going to be a tough week to better, this is an excellent start, this is exciting, the bold scape of these larger Martin Nemes pieces is exciting – not too sure about the small pieces neutered in white frames, the small pieces feel a bit like an after thought but that really doesn’t matter and this first week is all about the bright drama and demands made by those gloriously big pieces, about the lines they break up with their brightly coloured perspex and their pop art surfaces and yes, the feeling of looking at yourself (and those around you) via the reflections of a night club wall – about the lights that shine of the pieces, about the viewers who become part of it, their legs, their heels, their faces looking back from the curves of the straight edges, the flow of it all, the jolt when you first walk in, I love this first week, I love these big piece, they excite me, been back twice already, excellent show, excellent start to it all, excellent! But hey, beware, it all changes next Wednesday for week two, you only have a couple of days to catch these thrilling Martin Nemes pieces… (sw)
As always, click on an image to enlarge or to run the fractured slide show