This afternoon I visited Undone: Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. This exhibition was challenging, amusing and puzzling all at the same time.
Some of the work intrigued me and a couple of items were really quite beautiful. The two items that I found most interesting were by Jim Lambie, an artist I hadn't come across before.
Some of it I found very difficult to engage with. There are times when you're in a gallery and you feel you have to look at something in a serious 'gallery' kind of way, just because of the setting and these are items that in any other situation you wouldn't give a second glance to. There is something fairly surreal about trying to take seriously something that looks like a child has been having unbridled fun with a roll of selotape. It's all about pushing the boundaries, I suppose, and this really felt like some boundaries were being given a good pounding.
What I did love, though, was the way these objects were made from the simplest and commonest of everyday bits and pieces. There is a real magic to something that is made from a material so everyday that you couldn't imagine it could be given a new life as art and yet through someone's meticulous application and skill is made into something beautiful. I know an exhibition like this isn't all about beauty, but it certainly helps me to engage with a piece if I find it so.
I think this stuff will take a while to process but it certainly gave me some food for thought, especially in relation to my approach to the collected items I'm dealing with in my beach combing project.