Michael Craig Martin’s ‘line’ sculptures return, following on from his solo exhibition installed in the gardens of Chatsworth House in 2014. Inspired by the objects of the every-day, this artist has embarked on an exceptional career in the field of conceptual art.
Michael Craig Martin’s current exhibit at the Gagosian, on Britannia Street, is the first time his line-sculptures have been exhibited indoors and in London. Set only against white walls, the pieces are framed with expansive space and the inaction of the surroundings provides a perfect canvas to consider his work. Though the collection only includes a few objects, their individual structures amass to quite an impact.
The highlight of the exhibit was how limitless the viewing-points seemed. Each new angle and perspective engaged a different take, contradicting the apparent simplicity of the exhibition at first glance.
Up close, the physicality of the metalwork is tangible and prominent. However, receding just a few steps backwards, a bizarre visual experience takes place. The physicality of the sculptures seemingly dissipates, and their appearance seems but an illusion of the mind. Suddenly the fountain pen is a cartoon-like hallucination, and the corkscrew a trick of the eyes.
Of course, as a conceptual artist, this was exactly the intended outcome for Michael Craig Martin. While discussing conceptualism, he explains “the essence is not to do with the nature of the object or how it’s made, but how you think about the thing you are looking at”. People have an incredible capacity to conjure ideas through symbols and once we see one, we essentially then view it actively. The possibility that is outside the realm of the object’s potential function, is then manifested for the object in our eyes. That’s not a ball in the exhibit you can throw, catch, or bounce; it’s a piece of metalwork, cast in a sculpture intended to make you think of a ball.
Michael Craig Martin’s sculptures represent the everyday items that are universally utilised to improve or enhance life, the objects often taken for granted. Such as a lightbulb as a source of light or a pen as a tool for the written word. The pieces are formed with precise and clean lines with no personal inflection at all – a trademark of his – in order to closely reflect the manufactured nature of these items in their true forms.
‘Sculptures’ is a unique experience, not only does it test your visual perception, it addresses how we read symbols and shapes. We really enjoyed walking around the space and reflecting on the ideas behind the objects represented by Michael Craig Martin’s colourful line structures