Exhibition Review: The Future's not What it Used to Be, Chapter Gallery, Cardiff, until November 4 2012
The ten artists taking part in The Future’s not What it Used to Be have been given the remit of exploring past, present and future. But that premise is frequently obscured by pure creepiness in a show which packs a compelling punch.
For starters, Patricia Piccinini has sculpted what appears to be a cross between an elderly mermaid and Jabba the Hutt, with nipples, a single foot in the shape of a tail and a straggle of white hair on its head.
A child made of silicone and fibreglass, dressed in plain clothes, rests his head on the creature’s shoulder, both of them dozing on a brown bench while a train station-style clock claps as its minutes turn.
Building on the unsettling sensation, Monika Sosnowska has made 23 angular black “icebergs”, pulling and pushing the eyes to their random-yet-perfect points, corners and angles.
© Courtesy Marjetica Potrc / Galerie Nordenhake
Children mill around them, intrigued by the spatial playground. But the three-minute digital video in the darkened corner which follows, made by the macabre hand of Piccinini again, is not advised for young eyes.
A child lies asleep on a soft cream carpet in an apparently empty urban house. A guitar plucks menacingly as a series of faceless hairy creatures approach her at the speed of geriatric rabbits.
As they surround her, globular, tongue-like organisms worm out of holes opening in their monkeyish fur. With an imagination as brilliantly warped as this, the Australian hyperrealist could be Ron Mueck’s creative twin.
The final room dwarfs you with a faithful model of a rural school in a remote Amazonian area, recreated in robust lines of bare or white wood under a black and red roof held up by green planks.
It doubles as an impressive work of architecture by Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč, who studied a primary school built in the forests. The simplicity and stark contrast to western buildings summons some of the themes of sustainability Potrč has spent much of her career pursuing.
A towering finale to a dextrous display, this striking structure demands to be circled again and again.
- Open 12pm-6pm (8pm Thursday-Saturday, closed Monday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @chaptergallery.
© Courtesy Darren Almond / White Cube. Photo: Phil Babot
© Courtesy Vernon Ah Kee
© Courtesy Vernon Ah Kee / Chapter. Photo: Phil Babot
© Courtesy Monika Sosnowska / Chapter. Photo: Phil Babot
© Courtesy private lender