NowCuration (Instagram: @nowcuration) have truly pierced the veil of London’s young art scene –– orchestrating a celebration of artistic agency with ‘Tall Tales of Transparent Things’. The 5th and 6th of April proved to be a time of transforming the Fitzrovia Gallery into a space of unparalleled artistic activity, digested through a matrix of embellishment. It was exactly this that formed a clear common thread between the majority of works –– the transposal of everyday objects onto the ‘Tall Tale’ of exaggeration. Felt tip-borne figures, tightly woven fabric pieces and a tall standing sprayed ethylene-vinyl acetate foam were all provoking questions. According to the curational duo, Thea Voyles and Sieun Lee, that is what ‘makes [the works] hard to ignore –– and hard to forget’.
Voyles and Lee have assembled a curatorial rationale disguised in a grey, cardboard envelope, that featured a variety of poetry, short stories, and art prints, all of which retailed for about £5. This was a dramatic departure from the bound catalogue format of mainstream exhibitions and shows. Unbounding these boundaries articulated the agency of the exhibited objects, which were indexically present within the printed words. Aylet Wegner’s short story ‘The Strangers’, for example, formed support for Abbie Davies’ epoxy resin coated commodity still life; which according to Davies, concerned itself primarily with 'fast fashion'.
Other artists featured in the exhibition were Pao-Leng Kung, Lucy Oates, Yonah Taieb, Noa Maras, Gwennan Thomas, James Middleton, Leon Pozniakow and Heloise Delegue.
Most of the artists exhibited were present at NowCuration’s opening reception, signifying the open and socialite nature of the event. Having spoken to Pao-Leng Kung, who is currently pursuing a masters at Royal College of Art, the artist emphasised her interest in using found objects and elevating them to painterly representations. Interestingly and perhaps even deliberately, Pao-Leng Kung’s work was facing Heloise Delegue’s ‘Hygienic Bald-ness’ –– an assembled collage that suggestively surfaced Duchamp’s urinal amidst its multiple layers. The readymade of Kung bounced to-and-fro between the walls of Fitzrovia Gallery, in a referential dance decorated with artistic embellishment.
Whereas James Middleton used an object’s agency to replace a person altogether. His still life ‘Lawn Chair No. 3’ spoke of human presence through their very absence, voicing the commodity instead. The painting of the plastic chair, which was one of the biggest, if not the biggest work on display, is not kitsch or pop-art. It is instead a beckoning challenge to the history of portraiture, and in turn, to our empiricist and anthropocentric gaze.
NowCuration are currently working towards their show ‘Uncanny Valley’ in Leeds on the 2nd of June, and they are also back in Fitzrovia Gallery from the 5th to 13th of June for a ‘Penis Parade’ –– a show on the topic of male masculinity.
I would also like to acknowledge Naomi Jennings-O’Toole for being ‘the social media queen and caption author of Now’, for her breathtaking Pre-Raphaelite presence at the show; as well as Caterina Scarpetta for being the resident photographer.
Anna Mladentseva (Instagram: @anya.ml), present on the behalf of UCL's Art Business Society (Instagram: @art.bus.soc)