Exhibition: Re-make/Re-model, National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until February 27 2011
© Amikam Toren
Artists using old tin cans, bottles and TVs to create sculptures? It sounds like the kind of Outsider art project that gets Jarvis Cocker all a-tremble, but Re-make / Re-model is in fact an exhibition happening very much within – that is, inside – the confines of an art gallery.
The exhibition at the National Glass Centre involves a dozen artists responding to a call to action to reuse and transform materials and reconfigure pre-existing objects. As with Outsider art, visitors will encounter plenty of outmoded by-products of consumption, recycled into playful creations.
Among them is the work of Darren Banks, who has mined the world of car boot sale VHS tapes, outmoded audio technology and old TVs for a film installation fusing found and archive footage.
Christian Gräser also takes the tangible approach. His collected drinks bottles used by NGC’s Throwingstones restaurant have been fashioned into a chandelier-like installation suspended from the gallery ceiling. He is also making a second new work from the gallery’s old exhibition posters, leaflets and flyers.
Elsewhere, the process of re-making and the idea of re-configuration dominate. Steven Emmanuel’s Sorting the Hundreds from the Thousands, made in 2009, is a “laborious re-statement of arrangement and orderliness” in which each tiny sweet is reorganised into categories and hierarchies within throw away plastic cups.
Similarly obtuse is Amikam Toren’s Simple Fragments, from 1975 – a series of reconstructed milk bottles rebuilt into a new “whole” from broken pieces collected from various sources over time.
Glued together “as best as possible”, viewers are invited to gaze at the incomplete objects next to accompanying drawings that act as maps of the cracks in the pieces of glass.
In some cases the work touches upon the actual recycling of materials and the difficulties of disposable culture, while in others it is the making of new work that is more than the sum of its parts.
Either way, it seems a fitting exhibition for a centre dedicated to the one material that can be recycled again and again.