Conceptual duo at Bell Roberts: Andrew Lamprecht and Ed Young
Andrew Lamprecht: 'Alterior'
To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that an artist in possession of a new body of work must be in want of an audience. Or is it? Artist/theorist Andrew Lamprecht seemed determined to deny his opening night audience their usual art experience of some measure of enlightenment. 'Alterior', (you look the word up) although shown in the Bell Roberts Gallery, was in the untidy printing side of the business, the blurry miniature prints, hardly larger than postage stamps pasted directly onto the wall.
Portraits, most of them were, photocopied in black and white, plus some other small illustrations. I thought I recognised one of the subjects at least - James Joyce, but it was not he. Must be the hat, I thought. The deliberately made double images have their charm, but one does wonder if Lamprecht really wants us to know - or care - what this series is about. A comsultation of the catalogue is not terribly helpful, (all the pages are blank except for the printed images) though the last page is a photostat of a page which includes the following statement: "Even if there is a sequence of 100 zeros in our calculated expansion, we could change the question to 1,000 successive 9's (for example) and still have an open question. The point is that there are now, and always will be, simple questions about x of this kind to which we never expect to have an answer."
O.K. Everybody clear now? It's a history of important moments and figures in the history of mathematics. Next test please, Professore.
August 29 - September 12.
Ed Young: 'Muse'
'Muse' was a one night event which took place on September 5 at the Bell Roberts, Ed Young's follow up to his 'Bruce Gordon' piece at the end of last year.
The title of the event derives from the name of the four woman string quartet which played at the Bruce Gordon opening at the South African National Gallery, and who were engaged again for the occasion.
The artist's mother, who attended the event, declared herself mystified and distressed to see no artwork on the walls. The 'artwork' was all the people who came to the gallery that evening, and the events that took place: a mass performance, if you will. Young's artist statement lays out his position with perfect clarity: "I desire to force the art public who engage with this work to set their assumptions aside and to see the work as a statement of intent for future practice. �it is my sincere desire that all who engage with this work enjoy it. The entire event is predicated on rich but wholesome pleasures. This mirrors my own form of art making. I reject the "art as struggle" milieu and opt for an engagement with art that sees it as primarily a space of living". In staking out this position, Young reflects an attitude which has become increasingly apparent amongst younger artists in recent years.
On the evening in question, 'Muse' played agreeably in the centre of the gallery, specially clad bartenders handed out champagne, and plates of sushi circulated. Bit of a change from the boxed wine and peanuts if you're lucky routine, and one clearly designed to put cash strapped artists in a good mood. A black curtain demarcated the entrance to a VIP lounge. The evening was further enlivened by a chase and a contretemps between the bouncer and fellow artist Vuyisa Nyamende, who accused Young of stealing his exhibition date, and handed out his own collaged artworks to visitors.
For me, the lasting and most important element of the entire evening is the small black covered catalogue produced by Young with an amusing foreword by Andrew Lamprecht. Great photographs of the various participants are included. Young knows how to balance the serious with the witty - a rare skill. As with the Bruce Gordon catalogue, this one is masterly, and I have no doubt will become a collectors item.