I think it is safe to say that my love for the marriage of science and art is no secret. I always find it fascinating when one discipline borrows from the other, when their opposite attract, collide and coexist in the same space.
So, I have now paused in front of Gabriel Kuri‘s work in the Sadie Coles Gallery, a deep frown set between my eyebrows, bottom lip resting between my teeth, palm scratching the stubble on my chin. I am squinting. Taking a step forward. I love it.
I went in the gallery aiming to catch a quick glimpse of the Sarah Lucas exhibition, but by the time I started asking, the work had already grabbed my attention. The walls are lined with pieces of gold-coloured insulation foam, in weird shapes and different sizes. I looked intently, like a child that realises that the grown ups left the study room unlocked. I grabbed an exhibition guide, and walked into the main space.
The insulation foam is the main material of this series of self-portraits. The central inspiration behind the work, and the overall exhibition came from an essay by statistician David Spiegelhalter, in which he identifies classical symmetry, historical data and subjective judgement as the three fundamental bases for calculating the probability of an event. Kuri, who named the exhibition after these three factors, is transforming them into sculptural conditions for his work.
Kuri examines his body as a diagram of relations in which lines connect through different points of information, and process this data through mathematical graphs and charts, getting the symmetrical shapes in which he shapes and loops the material he uses. By doing this, he is creating a piece that has the same inherent dimensions that he does, and is anchored by a random object that represents societal, gender, and human factors.
Kuri moulds linear graphs and sculptural objects into a single representation of the self. In addition to insulation foam, he uses massive burnt matches and oversized metal towel dispensers, shaping the towels into the prescribed dimensions. He is framing the soft throwaway contents with a glossy modernist shell, a stark and dark comment on the current utilitarian view of self-worth and personal image.
In the lower ground level, he displays a range of sculptures that continue on the same realm of exploring the self through playing with dimensions. His work follows the paradigm of social constructionism, where an object has relevance because of the setting it is found in. Imagine finding a toilet brush in the middle of a dinner table. Things make sense because they are found in a sensible place.
In the same line of thought, Kudi‘s work uses found objects and familiar material in unfamiliar structures, creating a feeling of wonder and unease to the viewer.
The work is interesting because it is pushing the boundaries without being too obvious, and raises questions without asking them.
Very engaging, and truly original-everything you would expect from the Sadie Cole Gallery.