They bow. Curtain. No applause.
8 April to 18 June 2017
Exhibition open Tuesday to Sunday, 12—5pm
Giles Round works across disciplines and engages with a variety of materials, processes and collaborators to address the relationship between art, design and functionality. His work is populated with citation and appropriation and, over the last decade, he has built an extensive catalogue of references to early and late modernist manifestations with a particular focus on the design object.
For his exhibition at Spike Island, Round draws on his professional experience as an exhibition designer to theatricalise the standard systems of display employed by galleries and museums. Inspired by the Italian architecture group Superstudio and, in particular, the lamp Passiflora (1966) , the exhibition adopts a pop aesthetic where the artificial and the natural engage in a ‘playful game of illusion’, lending an unusual visibility to the functional elements that form the basis of exhibition display.
Interpretation, climate control, gallery furniture, lighting and signage are absurdly exaggerated from their usual supportive role to become content and narrative. As such, wayfinding causes trouble, interpretation incorporates emotion and gallery furniture becomes mobile. Similarly, the climate control system for maintaining the standard temperature and relative humidity necessary to preserve works is dramatised, whilst the gallery track lighting system is reconfigured to react to daylight. Rather than maintaining constant light levels, instead it amplifies them, leading to toxic overexposure on a bright day.
Elements of theatre design are considered in relation to exhibition making, introducing a number of set changes that see the works being rearranged and repositioned. Suspended from rigging, the works in gallery one, much like theatre flats, are raised and lowered via a system of pulleys and counterweights. Each day the position is altered to a pattern of different set configurations or to meet the needs of local theatre groups who have been invited to use the space to rehearse.
Alongside Round’s works, the exhibition features works by Alex Cecchetti, Maria Loboda, Cally Spooner, Superstudio and Evan Calder Williams.
Giles Round’s exhibition is supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, with in-kind support from Kriskadecor. Special thanks to Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Image: Giles Round, They bow. Curtain. No applause. (2017) Installation view, Spike Island (2017) Photograph by Stuart Whipps