“For the past four decades, British artist Nicola Hicks’ practice has addressed the universal, and often darker aspects of humanity, using contemporary allegory to critique our social systems”.
We’d been teased by the on-line glimpses, the social media posts…
“Dump Circus is a large-scale installation imagining an urban wasteland where the natural world has been ravaged and suffocated by debris and greed. Within this scene, a cast of wild and domestic creatures have bested their ringmaster”
I kind of don’t want to say too much, which of course is not what you want from a review, what you want is more dancing around the architecture or the circus or the big black silhouettes that are waiting down Kingsland Road. To say too much really is to spoil things though and it really is best to walk in with not too much information, you don’t really need my opnion, for what it is worth, the show is wonderful, turning the cornet and entering the main part of the darkly lit gallery is kind of breath-taking, it is that wow moment
“Upturning the anthropocentric perspective of the circus act, the animals appear to be adapting to the urban habitat on their own terms. Appropriating discarded human objects, and balancing precariously on pallets, a fridge and gigantic rubber tyres, their triumphant gestures amongst the remains of the city reflect both a horrifying account of human havoc on the planet and hopeful speculation on the irrepressible endurance of the natural world”.
It is a slightly disturbing otherworldly post-something-or-other scene the greats you as the dark circus music plays, this exhibition not only looks good, it sounds good as well. Set to the back in the gallery the main body of the show is some kind of very dark circus, is that a cat? A bear? The sound is all slightly echoed in that way only an art gallery can sound – you do kind of want someone to turn up the lighting so you can see who’s hiding in the corner, it is a beautifully lit installation
“A series of works on paper, recalling the exuberant designs of circus posters, introduce the characters performing in the surrounding tableau. Their multi-layered construction communicates a sense of urgency, alongside defiant slogans calling for change in works such as Keep Up, Get Up, and the enigmatically playful, Now”
You don’t think too much about the paper on the wall at first, the dark shapes take your attention but this show is brilliantly lit and those posters and that big head on the wall, and then it all slowly comes together, it all comes into focus, but I really don’t want to dance around the architecture too much, it is about the experience, about walking in, about circling around, going though, peeping around, the is that a unicorn or just a horse? “What d’ya mean? Just a horse?”
Do go if you can…
Dump Circus is at Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP. You find the gallery just up the road from Shoreditch Church, over from Great Art if you know the area, the show goes on until 18th December, the gallery is open Wednesday until Saturday. Entry is free. (sw)
As always, d oclick on an image to enlarge or t orun the slide show.