Holly Stevenson Invents A Gallery Space That Never Closes

A new exhibition titled, The Window Project <OPEN> explores the concept of being in two places at once via a consideration of the subject being both open and closed. The glass façade of the Gazelli Art House is presented as a series of connected spaces that are, paradoxically, simultaneously open and closed. Black angle brackets in Courier font span across the top-floor windows and the glass entrance. In mathematics < and > are inequality signs with a long symbolic history. However, when spaced one after the other, the signs are seen as a sign of change as they now open and close new clauses in HTML code. The white blinds on the top floor are drawn and create a monochromatic patterning, allowing the symbols to be read as aesthetically pleasing forms. The blinds’ closure reflects the Gallery’s current state as being both open and closed; thus, during the Project, the space will be open for viewing by appointment only.

The window recess on the ground floor, a modernist niche looking into the space, is always being open to the viewer even when the space is closed. For < OPEN >, the recess will be sealed off by a mirror on which is written This space will be closed during <OPEN>. As the viewer reads the words from the street, they view their reflection from within the Gallery space. This sense of the space being multiform is then reinforced by a notion of openness in that the viewer is able to see themselves in two places at once. The presence of a non-identical double has become a 21st-century puzzle routed in our Internet activities.

The Window Project < OPEN > is inspired by the Gallery’s unusual approach to a project space, the very openness of the ‘Window Project’ positions the Gallery as a space that is never closed, but one that is reflecting upon a flux of contradictory forces. < OPEN > has an affection for British Surrealism and the work of 20th-century conceptual artists, including Robert Barry and his art ‘that is just there’ – an art that one can feel but can’t see.

Holly Stevenson will also produce a wall installation and a series of collage postal works, Venice Without a Guide. These works further consider the double qualities signified by the angle- bracket sign. The wall installation Split, made from hand-cut aluminum foil cut-outs, placed at odds with one another, consciously breaks down the direct meaning located within the angle- bracket symbols whilst enjoying the oddity of disconnected reflections. The delicate postcard works – involving the seamless repositioning of 1960s’ images of Venice via intaglio – quietly turn the world upside down. Their plausible delivery via the postal system continues the dialogue of between external and internal forces.

Holly Stevenson graduated from the MA programme at Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2011. Her work has been shown in The Zabludowicz Collection, The Barbican and featured in the Art Catlin Guide 2012. She is a Graduate Fellow at UAL and was awarded a Flat Time House Graduate Peer Group member in 2012. Her works are held in collections in London and China.

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