2 Feb



Yes, it’s back. Even more dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism, this time with a police show-on-VHS-tape twist. Watch new arty farty perps and syntax villains brought to justice every two weeks or so. In this episode, we learn how it’s possible to write four paragraphs and nearly four hundred words about a man who built some walls. But wait… he built some walls in an art gallery that already had walls. Is your mind completely blown?

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel. I tried really hard to mispronounce all the foreign words and jargon, but I think I still accidentally said some of them correctly. Sorry about that.

Presented at ISE Cultural Foundation, the site-specific installation Time Would Not Diminish Their Strength But Add Wisdom To It explores the sculptural potential of space by diverting one of its main components.

Are you going to tell us what the main components of space are, then? Or which particular component is being diverted? No? Probably because you can’t, given that space is an abstract mass or count noun. Space doesn’t have components because space is defined by what it’s not and what is not in it rather than being a thing in itself. I know it’s complicated, but if you’re a curator in the business of justifying the unjustifiable, or a po-faced conceptual artist, don’t you think it’s particularly important that you bring all of your intellect (such as it is) to bear during any discussion of complex concepts, instead of just leaving the frayed edges of half-finished thoughts to dangle?

Using the four columns of the venue as a departure point, Fleming builds walls on the perimeter formed by the four pillars, resulting in a rectangular enclosure with rounded corners. Light emerges from the top of the construction, made of varnished drywall and colored plaster. While concealing the columns, this minimalistic temple emphasizes the textured ceiling. The massive cylindrical shapes, surmounted by the still-visible molded capitals, symbolically imply stability, power, architecture, and history. In this dark space where the only light source originates from the drywall temple, the large structure induces a somewhat cosmic flavour, shifting the immaterial sacred to the dense isolating foam substance on the ceiling. The object itself forces a contemplative relationship with visitors, and also highlights the distinctive features of the exhibition space.

Translation: he built some walls. Shifting the immaterial sacred? Forces a contemplative relationship? Just GTFO. I and every other visitor will decide what is sacred, when and with whom or what we are contemplative and have a relationship. It’s not for you to say. Neither your art work nor any other art work can “force” me to do anything. It’s extremely presumptuous and irritating (or absurdly naïve) for an artist or a curator to advertise their work as so powerful it can force anybody to do anything, unless their art work involves– for example– strapping visitors to trolleys and brainwashing them, or pushing a loaded gun against people’s heads.

Public Toilet

“A rectangular enclosure with rounded corners. Light emerges from the top of the construction.”

In the entrance vitrine, the flawed column made by Fleming, using Styrofoam, polyurethane, plaster and found objects, acts as a narrative bond, which brings a sequential aspect to the work, pointing out that which has been veiled in the main space. The passage from the entrance to the gallery space also underlines the literary title of the piece: Time Would Not Diminish Their Strength But Add Wisdom To It, suggesting a transfer of power and force from the four columns to the artist’s construction, reminiscent of the architectural role of the pillars as structural elements. The artist shifts the columns’ familiar purpose as symbolic and physical indicator in the gallery, therefore changing the logic inherent to the physical space, and its perception by visitors.

Translation: he’s about the 50,000th contemporary artist who piles up a load of meaningless old crap and then relies upon some highfalutin retrospective justification for it from a curator. “Flawed” seems like a euphemism for “it looks crap.” This is a prime example of no curatorial text=no art.

Displaying close affinities to the formal investigation and space consideration of minimalism,

Translation: there’s nothing, or hardly anything, to see or from which to extract any possible meaning, edification, emotion or pleasure in this so-called art.

the work of Nicolas Fleming relies on the accumulation of everyday discarded objects or materials, that he often finds on construction and renovation sites.

See piles of meaningless old crap translation, above.

He integrates them to his studio practice, where they join his mediums of preference: acrylic mediums and paints, isolating polyurethane, Styrofoam and car putty. These objects are reconfigured into sculptural forms that underline the architectural attributes and inhabit the exhibition spaces, which he transforms, using installation techniques such as wall constructions, floor add-ons and lighting alterations.

Translation: he uses things that he finds. Like a Womble, except that their mission was making good use of the things that they find, things that the everyday folks leave behind. This guy is like the anti-Womble, making indifferent to bad use of the crap that he finds, things that the everyday folks don’t give a shit about. I’ve been bitching about this type of art for some time, but I think I finally have a name for it. I’m calling it Womble Installation.

The Wombles

“These objects are reconfigured into sculptural forms that underline the architectural attributes and inhabit the exhibition spaces.”


  1. Alistair 16/02/2015 at 12:58 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.



    […] don’t normal things look amaaaaaaaaazing when an artist puts them in an art gallery? Womble Installation strikes […]

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