Susan Boyle, recycled horses and padded cells for visitors in Filling the Void at Our Space

By Culture24 Staff | 09 June 2010
A picture of a painting of a woman singing layered on red wallpaper

(Above) Nicola McCartney's Susan

Exhibition: Filling the Void, Blank Space/(Y)Our Space, London, until July 2 2010

When curator Christina Millare challenged 16 artists to turn Old Street's Our Space Gallery into a "creative sensory zone", she probably didn't anticipate results revolving around a giant horse made entirely of junk and surrounded by wires, a padded cell for visitors and Susan Boyle.

"The void being filled by each artist might be personal – either mental or spiritual," she says, hinting at the deeply emotive nature of the responsive works in Filling the Void.

A photo of the inside of a plain prison cell with a wooden chair and bed inside

Eve McDougall has made a replica of the cell she was held in as a teenager for the show

"Or it could be an emptiness they feel in wider society being filled, a lack or misunderstanding of something that is real, but not seen or understood."

The space is owned by mental health charity together, and three of the respondents are also involved in Art Saves Lives, promoting artists experiencing a sense of marginalisation.

One of them, Eve McDougall, has made Girls Behind Bars, a tiny version of her worldview when she was sent to prison in the 1970s for breaking a window as a 15-year-old.

A photo of a horse made of recycled silver materials

Lucy Edkins, Red Detritus

"It's a miniaturisation of an imagination, quite hallucinated, of how I saw myself in that prison with those other young children," she says.

"People just don't see it or fully appreciate what that means, or does to somebody."

Pop culture writer Nicola McCartney's wallpaper depiction of Subo channels the triumph and fear of the nation's tormented darling of the reality floorboards, and Red Detritus, an upright horse made of wood, metal, wire and baskets in an equine sculpture by Lucy Edkins, aims to spark "a cluster of wildness within a tame environment."

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