March 27, 2023

Peering sideways: round the corners of the Project Space Leeds.


Taking a footstep into Other People’s Problems, it is an undeniably an urban space where technology and media hits at all angles; literally in the case of Tom Crawford’s “Financial times hit against the wall”. The industrial warehouse space of the gallery heightens the imposing nature of Sophie Carapetian’s wall art which acts as a Hoche-like skyscraper that alludes to the Dadaism era as the distorted faces of Karl Marx jump out between bold linear black and white rails giving the impression of newsprints. Around the corner, compelling us to view the disturbing psychology of a child toying with a dead rat on the streets of London, Megan Rooney’s bluntly named film “Rat Boy” is highly uncomfortable. Even if feeling inclined to leave one must stay simply because Rooney stays to film. The perspective we are given in viewing the projection on the floor puts us in the artist’s shoes as she stands overhead, filming voyeuristically from a high balcony. Thus, intrusion into the boy’s experience seems compulsory and demands us to question the city’s lack of opportunities for childish innocence. Accompanied solely by the mangled, limp rat, the child looks for some means of entertainment in the absence of others. What Rooney gives us is a profoundly sad piece.

In Manchester’s quiet apology Sorry for the Inconvenience the Rogue Artists’ come together to show off everyday objects that vary from Paul Corwell’s blue ping pong balls (which appear to be architectural holes in the wall until a closer inspection) to Lee Machell’s ‘Cable’. The careful positioning of the Machell’s simple piece blends into the typically cemented gallery floor with a natural camouflage that could render it easily unacknowledged. However, there is a comforting thought that this inanimate object possibly dropped on the floor and forgotten has here, within the gallery, been given its own space and the importance which accompanies the title of Art. It certainly stirs up current issues of the mass-production of objects which have little use and the general wastefulness of the economy.  Her artworks are a pilferage of the efforts of other artists. By taking artwork within the space of another’s studio and giving life to inanimate items Longmore’s comical compositions are to be eagerly embraced with amusement in an industry that often takes itself too seriously.


Members of The Art House in Wakefield announce their Welcome to the Real World as they reflect on the issues that “shape our perception of the real world, of ourselves, and of each other”. The ticker-tape filming of Victoria Lucas’ “The Sinking” shows a roaring desolate sea in the artist’s search for answers in her heritage which appears to be rendered futile as the vast expanse of chaos merely repeats upon itself. From Lucas’ second installation resonates a slightly sinister sound that echoes on repeat throughout the gallery space. Three speakers that face each other as if in conversation pour out the voice of two siblings’ attempting to mimic their mother’s laugh presents an unsettling paradox of early infant exploration with a sense of a predestined cycle of inheritance. Aside from this sits Marion Mitchell’s five part piece of knits made from a range of materials that pay tribute to the history of Wakefield’s textile industry. Working with tissue paper, crocheted cotton, fur and wool Michell physically connects us to memories of childhood in these distorted representations of clothing that draw on the “anxieties” of growing up. At first glance each item appears simply to be a kitsch representation of ordinary child’s clothing until realisation hits that restriction is woven through as a theme that presents a feeling of something “not right”. In particular, Not Filth, Not Hair, a young girl’s dress that bears the brightest colours of the bunch in its ocean blue skater skirt, leaves an uncomfortable “strain” as the wool tapers to its thinnest point which is no larger than the mattress needle it hangs from. Elegant in its fragility this last piece gives an unsettling reminder to innocence easily broken.


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