Since I was a little girl I've been making dens....and don't think I'll ever stop..........

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Powel Althamer Exhibition at Modern Art Oxford

A couple of weeks, or was it months ago, I was walking down Broad Street in Oxford when I spotted a number of golden clad people walking en mass on the opposite side of the road! My immediate thought was that we'd been invaded by gold lame loving aliens, but then I thought No.........It was quite surreal. I took a few photos with my digital camera, then didn't give it much more thought until seeing the poster for a recent Powel Althamer Exhibition at MOA..... aha that's what it was...

I'm unfamiliar with Althamer's work and although I'm not a great fan of performance art, there is something amusing about this piece. I also found myself drawn to the naive cave painting-like scribblings that make up part of the installation on the ground floor of Modern Art Oxford.

I couldn't help but compare the sight of the gold jump suits hanging on a wall to
Kader Attia's installation Ghost made up of lots of hollow silver foil female forms bent in prayer in the Saatchi Gallery Last year. I may have connected the two pieces because of the similar materials used or just the use of multiples in both of their works.

I always think that there's a kind of sadness associated with works that involve
clothes without the human element, as do the piles of jumbled up clothes that Christian Boltanski sometimes uses. So besides the humour their is also a sadness to this work. Even though apparently these garments are intended to be worn by any one in the audience who wants to participate, I couldn't help but read that sadness.

Knowing little of Althamer's background I presume that this work is to do with acceptance. The big question of Is there anyone out there is asked but can't help but feel that it's actually directed to us here on earth and about the diversity of life down here and questions of identity.

I only just managed to get to see this exhibition last week before MOA closed for a major renovation that sounds very exciting with new performance spaces opening and an outdoor cafe. I can't wait to see the transformation when it reopens on the 17th of April.

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