Amalia Pica – A Single Work at Herald St Gallery – Study for rearranging the conference table 24, it kind of brings back thoughts of that notorious table that proudly stood, much to the annoyance of most of the penniless bands, in the Factory Records office. I do like a good table, I would like a good table (I would like space for a table), but is is this a table? I must admit I avoided reading anything about the show and just dropped in, it didn’t really strike me as a table hanging there on the gallery wall. I mean, surely if it was a table it would be standing in the middle of the gallery? No, I didn’t see a table, I saw just one piece of work hanging on the gallery wall, one rather playful piece of work, an intriguing piece certainly. it is good that you can just knock on the door and walk in to a gallery like this (if you know the gallery is there that is, this is yet another of those spaces that doesn’t like signs or letting anyone actually know). There is only the one piece in the gallery, that certainly works, that’s certainly a statement
“Spanning over five meters and consisting of fourteen panels, Study for rearranging the conference table is the largest in a series examining the choreographic possibilities of these tabletops, reproduced on a smaller scale and supplanted onto the wall. The individual shapes – semicircles, trapeziums, and rectangles – stay true to those of existing tables in office furniture catalogues, commonly used as modules for larger conference arrangements allowing for formal communication and defined hierarchies. Pica instead plays with the configuration, producing a meandering composition and inviting viewers to imagine the conversations which would take place if they were sat around such a whimsical formation”.
Not sure if “whimsical” is the word, it doesn’t really feel whimsical does it? It feels solid, it feels bold, strong, lively. not sure if it was that exciting or engaging, not sure if it demanded that much in terms of emotion or conversation, not sure if we haven’t seen this already a number of times, well not as a table but you know, go have a look. I don’t know, maybe if the gallery moved the parts around every day? Maybe they do? Maybe I should go and check. Should you really need to read about a piece or already know the artist? The gallery statement and the background information does add to the thinking about the piece, I could bluff it and make out I knew all that already but I never got on with offices, furniture or the continued investigation into the socio-political tropes which dominate anyone’s wider oeuvre. I was just dropping in on my way back to the studio after the always positively charged Whitechapel market (fifty-odd oranges for a quid, even more tomatoes for the same price, I do love that market and those vans and the conversations to can have with so many different people) and we have surely seen so many things that are a rather a lot like this and I wonder what’s for tea and well…
“The geometric planes in Study for rearranging the conference table demonstrate Pica’s long-standing interest with Concrete art, a movement which was explicitly political in South America, including in the artist’s home country of Argentina. The sculpture also playfully nods to the art adorning lobbies of large companies – an idea which finds particular resonance by the initiation of this series at a museum dedicated to Swiss Constructivism, long derided by its local audience as ‘office art’. By finding visual pleasure in the dull conventions of office bureaucracy, Pica overturns the relationship of corporations acquiring art to enliven their premises and impress their visitors. The present work thus acts as a maquette and recording of Pica’s performative work at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, a continued investigation into the socio-political tropes which dominate her wider oeuvre, and an autonomous artwork which lies between representation and the canon of twentieth century abstraction”.
“Study for rearranging the conference table evolved from Pica’s 2020 exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, titled Round Table (and other forms). Using generic boardroom furniture as a starting point, Pica created a group of Formica and plywood tables on wheels in her emblematic formal language of geometric shapes and bright colours. These were reconfigured each day in kaleidoscopic arrangements by museum staff, in a joyful performance contrasting the workaday corporate humdrum and staticity of the works’ source of inspiration”.
Apparently there is an accompanying video made by Amalia Pica and Rafael Ortega up on Vimeo but access is restricted and well,we can’t actually view it or indeed share it here and I’m not sure that I’m really that bothered either way, not sure if the piece in the gallery really warranted the further effort and it really didn’t really bemand I g ofind out more and oh well… (sw)
Amalia Pica – A Single Work is on at Herald St Gallery, Herald Street, Bethnal Green, East London E2 6JT until October 2nd 2021. Find the gallery hiding behind the grey door by the roll down shutters at the end of the street, there’s not a hint that the gallery is there but ring the uunmarket door bell and a friendly person will come and open the door and let you in…