A monumental, battered wooden portal regulates access to the refurbished industrial warehouse space of Hollybush Gardens gallery. The ground floor’s white cube space hosting Gregor Podnar for Condo 2019 is carved out between piles of earthen bricks, its rarefied smoothness set against their bulge, amidst multiple intruding wooden beams. The resulting atmosphere of suspension perfectly encapsulates the tone of the composed, slowly moving installations by Vadim Fishkin, and the floating stillness captured in Attila Csörgő’s photographs. Both artists investigate space in terms of its void and physicality alike, unveiling how presence is always the result of simultaneous projection, approach and repulsion.
Fishkin’s work explores this complexity through light and playful visual intrigues. His Missing Part teases us with the physical presence of a ventilator, onto which a beam from a bright spotlight is projected. The smooth white wall behind showcases the outline of its body, and the slowly moving fan that we would expect. Yet only moments later we notice the ventilator’s cord is lying on the floor, disconnected, and the fan itself is missing. The moving part we see is merely a projection contoured by the shadow of its frame. A sense of presence is perceived from each element, yet the complete object in space is only constructed ethereally through their clever interplay. miss Christmas, an earlier work, is less concerned with this spatial contouring and focuses on the constraints of physicality. An opened paint bucket is stranded on the floor, dramatically lit to emphasise its stillness against the sinuous, swaying projection of a palm tree in the background. The result is an oddly soothing display of the hologram-like versus the disappointingly three-dimensional.
Csörgő’s photographs are a lucid meditation on the role of movement in signifying spatial presence. The playfulness in the title of grey-hued How to Construct an Orange II indicates that its sphere-like geometrical entity has been thrown into the air almost by accident, and certainly by a sudden, forceful impulse. The source of this is the large industrial fan underneath it, powered by electricity from a serpentine coil that might plausibly keep the ‘orange’ floating indefinitely. Indeed, looking at the object’s clear unblurred outlines and relative stillness it seems that Csörgő is offering a crude rendering of the natural oddity of balanced gravitational forces. In his Deviation series, he effortlessly shifts from gravity to electromagnetism, referencing both the presence of the latter’s invisible forces in the void of space, and the consequences of the approach between two bodies within that environment. A straight beam of electricity is gently bent by an incoming magnet, and he captures for us the instant of this ethereal form of contact.
By teasing for such fleeting interactions, both artists hint at the hidden rules that regulate human perception. Though it makes for an alert viewing experience, this sense of suggestion also tips the works too far into the calculated, without evident desire for more hypothetical and energetic guess-work. We are not awed by, but neatly presented with, their questions seemingly solved.
Condo 2019: Gregor Podnar at Hollybush Gardens
1-2 Warner Yard, EC1R 5EY
12 January - 9 February
Written and researched by Francesco Oneto