This show displays past works from Camden Art Centre exhibitions. The pieces have been positioned the way they were in their original showings, which for some is up to 50 years ago. From this point of departure, Simon Starling, the 2005 Turner prize winning artist and former Camden Art Centre resident, has selected new works by artists in a predictive look at the Centres future direction.
Walking round Never The Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts) is a kind of archaeological experience. One feels as though the works act as much like artefacts as they do typical Modern art works. Due to its presentation, Starling has been able to create the sensation of a museum. An historical line drawn from high modernist designs and forms, evident in works like Mary Martin’s Maquette (1956; originally produced for This is Tomorrow which took place at the Centre in that year, and is currently being much celebrated at the The Whitechaple Gallery); Isokon Furniture display shown at the gallery in the Thirties and Erno Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower (1972).
From these simple, clean shapes so synonymous with early western twentieth century art and design, we are carried through a variable array of time signifiers, and horrors, of the last century: Andrea Fisher‘s Displacement I (Hiroshima) (1993) and Bacon’s Figure Study II (1945-46) are two such images which share this displaced dialogue, commenting on the sheer repulsion of a war torn age.
The exhibition leads us from the centres archival exhibits, towards a reassessment and reordering of recent western history. Works such as Sean Lynch’s Delorean Progress Report, Matthew Buckingham’s False Future (2007) Graham Gussin’s Fall (7200-1) and Francis Upritchard’s Sloth with Roman Plastic’s (2005), seem most effective at presenting the viewer with an appraisal of the activities of the post colonial age through artistic and creative alterations.
The focusing on time, and how artworks perhaps endure or ‘expire’ due to it, is a major theme of this show. However how we understand historical change through art and its varying forms is significant when appreciating this exhibition.
Never The Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts) is on at the Camden Arts Centre from the 16th December 2010 - 20th February 2011.