May Hands

Maybe Your Lens is Scratched? @ Slate Projects, Jun 24 – Jul 24

24 June 2016

The Maybe Your Lens is Scratched? group exhibition is on at London’s Slate Projects, opening June 24 and running to July 24.

Artists included are mostly London-based such as Matt Ager, Lauren Keeley, May Hands, Lawrence LekBecky Beasley, We Are Visual design group, and many more.

There is no information to accompany the show which is curated by Bianca Baroni and Alex Meurice, although it seems the artists selected to exhibit work with the potential of materiality found in imagery and display.

Slate Projects is itinerant and for Maybe Your Lens is Scratched? will be based in Averard Hotel, an empty nineteenth-century mansion house in West London turned into hotel and currently awaiting renovation.

See the Slate Projects website for (limited) details.**

Lauren Keeley, Garden (2015). Courtesy the artist and Supplement, London
Lauren Keeley, ‘Garden’ (2015). Courtesy the artist and Supplement, London.


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Anticipating Back to the Things Themselves @ Assembly Point

15 June 2015

What would going back to things themselves mean, really? Assembly Point’s inaugural exhibition—titled just that: Back to the Things Themselves—probes at the phenomenology of objects and opens at the new London artist-run space this week on June 18. Founders James Edgar and Sam Walker (who work under the Edgar-Walker moniker) have curated the Peckham gallery and studio space’s inaugural exhibition, inviting six other artists and artist duos, including Nicholas Brooks and May Hands, to present their manifestations of ‘things’. Taking its title from the early 20th century work of philosopher Edmund Husserl, the phrase invites the notion of  ‘structures of experience’ and questions the links between how things appear and how they are in turn perceived.


For Edgar and Walker, ‘things’ can mean a lot of things—objects, images, materials, structures, processes. They ask the participating artists to examine the very tenets of materiality through the lens of phenomenological inquiry, and to consider “everyday encounters with the material world”, exploring the ways in whey contribute to our collective sense of identity, value, and place. Amongst the seven artists and artist duos is London-based artist Nicholas Brooks, whose work with film and sculpture exposes the fleeting nature of many of the things used to define the world: fleeting encounters, fleeting objects, fleeting narratives. Through his characteristic fragmented archeological scenes, Brooks creates a kind of disintegrated reality, drawing attention to each object’s place, and the cultural space they occupy.

Joining Brooks is May Hands, whose paintings and sculptures poke at the materiality behind commodity, repurposing disposable couture brand packaging and pound-shop commodities as materials for her sculptural pieces. A Chanel ribbon becomes the string of a bucket in 2015’s ‘Bucket III (Please Come Again)’ and the luxury product’s packaging paper becomes 2014’s ‘Song River Chanel (Pink and Blue)’. Julia Crabtree & William Evans, the only duo aside from Edgar–Walker, select to explore the phenomenology of objects by examining the gap between virtual and real spaces, “playfully manipulating interfaces, objects and imagery into placeless, immersive scenarios”.


Another artist, Nicolas Feldmeyer, uses everything from drawings and installation to photography and film to intervene in the fields of landscape, geometry, and architecture, while Imran Perretta, like May Hands, uses socio-culturally inscribed objects like whitening creams and prayer mats as raw materials, and Henna Vainio presents sculptures and reliefs that use the “casts of everyday objects in their interpretations of architectural spaces and poetic rhythms”. The last addition to the lineup is Edgar-Walker itself, using a palette of found objects and building materials to examine the visual language at play in commonly ignored landscapes, like construction sites. The exhibition will also bring a publication in conjunction with the show that includes various contributions from the exhibiting artists as well as a previously unpublished essay by contemporary philosopher Graham Harman.

Back to the Things Themselves will run at Assembly Point from   June 18 to July 27, 2015.

Header image: courtesy Assembly Point.

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Heathers (2014) @ Rowing exhibition photos

8 December 2014

Happening a while back but one not to be overlooked, Camden’s Rowing in London presented a nine-strong exhibition of artists inspired by the 1988 teen cult-classic and would-be mass murder movie, Heathers, running September 19 to October 25. Curated by New York’s Alex Ross and crossing generations born before and beyond the 80s, the exhibition rides on the inescapable cycle of contemporary art co-option in popular culture via its “impulse to vampirise levity as a cipher for criticality and de-subjectivisation”.

'Heathers', 2014, installation view, Rowing, London
Heathers (2014). Installation view. Courtesy Rowing, London.

It takes the Michael Lehmann film’s quiet nods to artworks – obtusely referred to in a list of timings appearing on the Rowing exhibition page in lieu of a press release – across 11 pivotal scenes underscored by their appearance in the background. The Heathers exhibition in turn takes this idea of appropriation and depoliticisation of a post-Pop Art space further, by presenting works that reintegrate popular, or more specifically, commodity culture back into the artwork, begging the question, ‘what’s the difference anyway?’ Hence there’s May Hands‘, ‘Endless Euphoria (Calvin Klein)’ (2014) – a minimal white netted canvas dotted with the fashion house’s perfume cards – next to ‘Guilty, (Gucci)’ (2014) and Deanna Havas‘s ‘Regrind (4)’, a papier mâché plaque on foam crudely painted with brands, a browser window and fragments of text including, “Brand Name: Famous”.

Bradford Kessler‘s ‘Mistletoe (3,2,1)’ (2014) hangs from the ceiling at the Rowing entrance – tasteful snow-white head harnesses fitted with crisp new tennis ball gags – while Daniele Milvio’s glazed raw clay scallop bowls are mounted across four walls. That’s where Kait Mooney‘s titanium negative ion necklace for the athlete in ‘third initial’ (2014) lies scattered in a scrawl on the floor. It’s tubing and brass fittings lead away from Erika Ceruzzi‘s tumbling wall hung, ‘Ribbons (Electrobank)’ (2014), across from Rachel Maclean‘s ‘LolCats’ (2012) 15-minute video, on the floor in the corner. The latter artist performs famous cultural moments throughout history – from a Katy Perry interview (“I wanted them to be, like, Britney Spears-white.”) to a scene from The Wizard of Oz (“But, I don’t understand”) – as the ‘LOLCat’ meme personified in a hyper-stylised fantasy landscape.

Where the art and the curatorial concept comes to bear most succinctly, is in Lisa Holzer‘s framed painting of ‘Nude monochrome’s naked dream with Ei passing under spaghetti (blushing orange)’ (2014), where the Tiqqun-inspired framed pigment print behind glass reacts as much as it mediates in an interface between person and projection (“girly-like shy rather than ashamed“). Anime stickers are stuck across from frame to transparent screen in the paler ‘It’s my hair and I can do what I want with it!’ (2014) print, confusing where the image ends and the ‘reality’ begins. The causality dilemma is extended to video game culture, high school shootings and the socialised violence, misogyny and alienation of conventional masculinity in Andrea Crespo‘s empty Playstation 3 game disc boxes. The Complex Cases feature blurbs taken from existing blog posts left behind by soon-to-be teen mass murderers in what’s becoming a growing trend building up on copy-cat actions by the likes of Jeff Weise and Elliot Rodger, with Jokela High School student Eric-Pekka Auvinen insisting, “HUMANITY IS OVERRATED!” **

Heathers group exhibition was on at London’s Rowings Projects, running September 19 to October 25. 

Header image: Lisa Holzer, ‘Nude monochrome’s naked dream’ (2014) @ Heathers. Install view. Courtesy the gallery.

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