Lines of Thought @ Parasol Unit – REVIEW
‘Lines of Thought’ is the current exhibition at Parasol Unit (that beautiful space in Angel with brick walls and high ceilings), and presents an ensemble of work from 15 contemporary artists, from the 1960s to the present, each of whom use line in innovative and imaginative ways. From endless parallel lines, to intangible messes of squiggles, it seems as if these artists really have thought of it all, pushing line to its near limit.
Each piece is presented on the flat white walls of the Parasol, so that standing in the centre of every spacious room gives you a panoramic view of the often large and mind-boggling pieces. In the first room a ten-foot intricate painting of a fishing rod on canvas stands aside smaller box frames containing delicate drawings, reminding one of difficult shapes drawn in geometry. The room is further populated with other large-scale, using a variety of different materials, from thread to wire, each presenting a different interpretation of line and its use.
One piece that really stands out is Hemali Bhuta’s ‘Stepping Down’ – an overwhelming cluster of candles, hanging from the ceiling like stalactites. This work is a particularly interesting and extravagant way to present lines, extending them down almost to touch the floor, so that standing underneath the artwork felt as if you were amongst the candles themselves.
On the first floor, an incredible structure of yellow steel protrudes out of the wall and forms (when the viewer is stood in the correct position) an impossible optical illusion, in which a cube is created out of the air itself. It is by the artist Fred Sandback, and remains ‘Untitled’. But so real and enticing was the effect that I was even tempted to try and crawl through it! In direct contract, the opposite wall presents itself with far more abstract pieces: paint smeared across canvas and impossibly delicate lines drawn directly onto the wall; these appeared from afar as cracks, and remained still and flat even when up close.
Although the exhibition is mainly art and sculptural, hand drawings (and a solo photograph) are also scattered about, meaning that there is something for everyone (especially good me, who likes to delve into as many creative medias as possible!). I found the exhibition thoroughly enjoyable, and thought it works well to have such a diverse mixture of work standing aside one another, united only in their investigation of line – that most elemental of artistic vocabulary. The exhibition gives room for much interpretation, and will certainly get you thinking. Words: Matilda Lawrence-Jubb © 2012 ArtLyst