The Zero Hours exhibition at S1 Artspace in Sheffield features work from Katja Strunz, Elena Bajo and Ryan Mosley. Review by Tim Barnes
The first floor gallery at S1 Artspace is a sanctuary of quiet and calm. The absence of a video or sound installation seems remarkably refreshing and allows visitors to move through the gallery at a pace of their choosing, letting the exhibition find its own voice in the pressing silence.
Steel boxes, rusted, welded and bashed-in are freeze-framed as they tumble in Katja Strunz’s Fall into Space. What might at first appear a calamitous scene is now a prolonged stoppage in an inanimate suspension and where the boxes initially imbued chaos, they now gain constancy in their peaceful and enduring stillness. In this silent gallery visitors can be forgiven for wanting to look around and check if the outside world has not also frozen in time.
Elena Bajo’s Of the Refrain, Shells appears boldest and being the only floor-based sculpture, it gains a real physicality when experienced in the round. Five terracotta forms are aligned like artillery shells and Bajo’s material choices provoke a wealth of social and political thoughts on Sheffield’s significant industrial past.
Bajo’s Black Chance series expresses in a vocabulary of smudges and smears the ghostly remnants of a previous creative procedure. Apparently accidental marks in black ink on brown paper begin to articulate the impression of some sort of abstract artwork that seems to exist in a rift of its own, between presence and absence, procedure and happenstance.
Ryan Mosley attacks his large canvases with a confident hand. Each bold mark contributes to a zestful and exuberant body of work. He plants so vividly in our minds the lively actions and gestures that are involved in the making of an oil painting of this kind. Mosley’s Dance of the Nobleman carries a real sense of theatre and a painterly cast of carnivalesque characters perform simultaneously, jubilant, euphoric comedies and morbid, menacing tragedies in their own static worlds.
The work in this exhibition, although largely sculptural, clings to the walls as though the floors were shark infested and it’s easy to move around the gallery’s perimeter from one piece to the next, observing the artworks like suitcases on an airport conveyor. However, the abundance of space offers a great opportunity to stand well back in numerous positions and observe the exhibition as a balanced, dynamic whole, the artworks appearing as through in lively conversation.
Zero Hours is at S1 Artspace until 14 Dec; more info.