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Sunday, 16 January 2011


Last week [DoR] attended the Private View of I Will Eat This Sleepy Town at Waterside Project Space. In the main gallery space Marcin Dudek created a large scale site specific installation you must navigate through. The exhibition consist of works by both Marcin Dudek and Ben Washington. This exhibition is highly recommended.

What we call ‘progress’ doesn’t necessarily take the direction we expect. Sometimes, in an attempt to ‘modernize’, the march of society pulls the rug from beneath our feet.

In their two-man exhibition, Marcin Dudek and Ben Washington create parallel large-scale installations. Both artists pick up on the need to ‘push forward’, the need to dig or climb, but also the dangers of being swallowed up or lost in the clouds.

Marcin Dudek’s work takes as its inspiration the town of Katowice in Polish Silesia – in the 1970s, a model industrial city, with high-rise architecture springing up from the work of the coalmines underneath. Excessive exploitation (or over-mining) undermined this success story, and the ground has opened up, slowly swallowing the city. Using little more than cellophane and tape, Dudek’s tunnel installation leads us into the hollows of the earth, with traps of light, sound and video.

Ben Washington’s sculptures – precarious, unbalanced objects – emerge from the sink-holes and the rubble. Suspended underneath, Washington’s works bring attention to the structures and systems that keep our environments and landscapes in the orientation we have become accustomed to: the right way up. The sculptures are at once architectural models, abstract mountainscapes, floating cities and stellar systems, and bring together the Monolith, video games, and holiday snaps from Costa del Sol.

This underground utopia - a cross between the nuclear shelter and the hanging gardens - allows us to inhabit the man-made and the natural at the same time. From here, in the safety of the infra-thin, we can touch the spaces not just in the physical, but also in the emotional and psycho-geographic.


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