New season of art on Vyner Street, London

Klara Kristalova

It is the start of a new season in the art world and I can’t remember the last time I saw so many good shows in one go. Vyner Street is rocking! Starting off at Stuart Shave/Modern Art, is a group show called Effigies – which in this case refers mostly to busts as opposed to full-length figures, but not always known figures as you might expect from the title. There are, however, lots of known names in this show, like Henry Darger, Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois, but 2 of the highlights for me were lesser-known artists Klara Kristalova and Terence Koh.

Swedish artist Kristalova has two beautiful painted and glazed stoneware pieces in the show, The Rights of Spring (2007) (pictured) is my favourite. It is a striking but somehow tender image of a girl, head bowed, the tendrils of a waxy plant growing out of her eyes. The ceramic around the eye sockets is cracked, as if to indicate the plant forcing its way out of the sculpture, in fact, these tendrils have been fired out of the very same clay.

Terence Koh’s sculpture, The Golden Balls of My Youth (2007), is a gold plated double faced cast of his head, hung upside-down from a cable coming out of the neck. The mouths are open and you can see right through one mouth and out the other – but the surface of the lips and the inside of the mouth is distressed, it is not a continuation of the straight representation of the body inside.

Both these pieces seemed to refer to interiority, both human and sculptural. Interiority as in what we see in Kristalova’s piece, and through what we say in Koh’s work. And then both the interiors of the human form were rendered as a ruptured sculptural surface – which breaks the narrative of the figure but somehow resonates with it too.

Round the corner at Nettie Horn is another group show, The Joy, curated by participating artist Kate Street. This show has a few nice pieces, Debbie Lawson’s Collar and Cuffs (2007) being one – this is a sculpture of a little side table with plant on top, both of which have been covered in a rich patterned carpet, as if it crept up from underneath and smothered these pieces of household furniture.

There are also some interesting paintings on at Fred and sculpture at David Risley gallery – both worth a look. You’ll also want to leave time for the new Wilkinson Gallery which has just moved from round the corner to an enormous warehouse like space, which also has a project room currently showing film/video works.

Stuart Shave/Modern Art gallery website
Artist Klara Kristalova’s website
Nettie Horn gallery website

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