Last Chance to See: The Future's not What it Used to Be at Chapter Gallery Cardiff

By Ben Miller | 01 November 2012
A photo of a sculpture of a small boy resting his head on a pink creature on a bench
Patricia Piccinini, The Long Awaited (2008). Silicone, fiberglass, human hair, leather, plywood, clothing
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.

A photo of a recreation of a wooden school in the Amazon, placed in a gallery setting
Marjetica Potrc, Acre: Rural School (2012). Building materials, energy and communication infrastructure© Courtesy Marjetica Potrc / Galerie Nordenhake
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.

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.

More pictures:

A photo of a large simple clock showing numbers in white against black within white
Darren Almond, Clock (1997). Edition 10/10. Perspex, infra-red, sound stores and electric motor© Courtesy Darren Almond / White Cube. Photo: Phil Babot

A photo of the words the end of living and the beginning of survival in black ink
Vernon Ah Kee, theendoflivingisthebeginningofsurvival (2012). Lightbox installation© Courtesy Vernon Ah Kee
A photo of a large brown brick art gallery with the words the end of living on the outside
© Courtesy Vernon Ah Kee / Chapter. Photo: Phil Babot
A photo of a series of black iceberg-like sculptures made of aluminium on a gallery floor
Monika Sosnowska, Untitled (2006). Installation© Courtesy Monika Sosnowska / Chapter. Photo: Phil Babot
A photo of a sculpture of a small boy made of plaster sitting on a bench with a sea creature
Patricia Piccinini, The Long Awaited (2008). Silicone, fibre glass, human hair, leather, plywood, clothing© Courtesy private lender

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