We keep seeing exhibitions 'pop up' in abandoned shop fronts and empty stores around Cambridge. They're organised by Changing Spaces, and their latest show is Sub-ti-tled at 6-16 King Street -- some of you may remember this as the Wallace King furniture shop.
The carpets and parquet flooring of the furniture store are still in evidence, and one living room-style displays recalls the ghosts of former retail.
View of gallery with Melina Juergens' photography among furniture, and Issam Kourbaj's work.
Issam Kourbaj, Farewell My City of Joy, 2003
Hanging right next to the shop window is Issam Kourbaj's strange work. At first sight, it looks like an abstract painting, made up of painted rectangles.
But it isn't. It's made up of bits of books.
Book covers made of marbled cardboard, book covers torn from their volumes, embossed book covers, book covers encrusted with pigment.
In between, there are also book pages, their printed lines of text struggling to remain visible beneath splotches of paint.
And just because we tend to photograph such works from the front which makes them seem flatter (and more 'painting-like') than they really are: here are some angled views. See the materiality. See the depth of the supporting canvas. See what the foreshortened view does to perception.
Issam Kourbaj is artist-in-residence at Christ's College, and Anne-Claire Morel is one of Christ's Visual Arts' Scholars. Here are details from her exhibited work:
Anne-Claire Morel, Almighty Me, 2013, plaster and clay
These tiny heads remind me of Anthony Gormley's sculpture installation Field.
Photographer Mark Box shows a sample of his large-scale portrait photographs: floating heads starkly outlined against white backgrounds. I met Mark in the exhibition, and he told me that the Movember photos took 230 hours to make, from start to finish.
Mark Box, Movember I, 2012, digital giclée print
View of Gallery 616, King Street, with Mark Box's photographs, Lynne Brown's pastel works on paper, and Issam Kourbaj's assemblage
11 artists in total are showing at the exhibition. Four of them are Christ's Visual Arts Scholars -- a fantastic initiative within Christ's College! They have their studios above 1-16 King Street.
Read one art-history student's thoughtful comments on the exhibition: Review by Robert Hawkins in Varsity.
Rob Hawkins writes: "Of course, the difference between making art at Cambridge and making it in an art school is the lacking sense of immersion, of constant criticism and subsequent improvement."
What Hawkins perhaps doesn't know is that Cambridge does actually have a thriving art school: the Cambridge School of Art. In fact, two Cambridge School of Art graduates are involved with Sub-ti-tled: Mark Box (exhibiting his photography) and Anji Main (curator of the show and also director of Changing Spaces). Both are, I'm proud to say, former students of mine. :-)
Check out Cambridge School of Art exhibitions at my pinterest board!
Last chance to see it!! The exhibition ends on Sunday, 24 Feb.
Alison Litherland's cows (another Changing Spaces exhibition)