Friday, 8 May 2009

The Crypt: The Other Side

Fighting off ice cream cones. Weaving through 'urban fossils'. Enjoying a home video music performance. The current exhibition at The Crypt Gallery, The Other Side has really appreciated the potential of this unique space with work integrating drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, sound, video, text and performance.

The Other Side curated by Erika Winstone has been exhibited in The Crypt Gallery because of its dual history as a place of sanctury for both the living and the dead (the crypt was an air raid shelter in both world wars). It takes its title from the novel written by artist Alfred Kubin who found himself incapable of drawing due to emotional and spiritual trauma. Eighteen artists have been asked to explore the other side through working with real and imagined relationships, exhibiting work with an 'other' across time. Mark Dean's video of St.Pancras church graveyard capsures both 'sides', with the living movement of people and trees made so resonant against the stillness of the head stones.

An 'other' indicates a realm of uncertainty, an area to explore. The nature of relationships vary, but they are reciprocal, and so the artists work explore the influence of their 'other' side. The creative value of this relationship is encompassed throughout the exhibition.

The delicate, small scale paintings by Trevor Jones titled 'remember me' and 'forgotten' explore his relationship with wife and daughter, showing how the fear and uncertainty left in their lives since his recent stroke has influenced his creative work. I love the photograph of Tony Hill's striking 'Broken Shells'. His hands are holding as many shells as possible and the shapes are so harsh against his caring hands. The photograph is influenced by the material qualities of the work produced by his late wife and artist Lynne Davies-Jones. From the present to the past and beyond. Erika's own cross generational work brings film footage from the past into the present and in doing so creates an imaginary happening that could never take place in reality but conveys how relationships sustain through time.

By looking at 'the other side' of relationships the artists have reflected upon their own work from a different perspective and produced an innovative and very personal exhibition. The Other Side is showing at the Crypt Gallery until 17th May, if you can, do pop down into the cavenous space just off Euston Road for a moving and thought provoking exhibition.

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