Skyscraper at Kate MacGarry, London 2009
04 September - 11 October 2009
"The group show Skyscraper takes its name from a novel written in the same year that the Empire State Building opened its doors. The novel is a romance tinged with feminist ambition and an homage to aspirational architecture motifs that the artists here display a common regard for. Chicks on Speed, Madelon Vriesendorp and Pelican Avenue all share a fantastical approach to design that leads beyond utility towards the articulation of desire and absurdity. Far from the earnest pronouncements of 1970s feminism, Skyscraper is a joyous declaration of independence from conservatism, logic and category distinction.
Chicks on Speed present two new hats, made in collaboration with designer Christophe Coppens and based on illuminated drawings of Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century Christian mystic who received visions, composed ethereal airs, performed healing and even founded convents. These hats transmit the utterances of their wearers by way of microphones and speakers: the contemporary beatified woman can amass her own power tools, it seems.
Madelon Vriesendorp has a foot in both the art and architectural camps, which she bridges with her series of paintings of anthropomorphised buildings lying spent in bed. Vriesendorp's installations, comprising cardboard constructions and found objects, seem to fuse the rarefied metaphysical potential of Giorgio de Chirico with the unlimited facture of the popular imagination. She has collected postcards and objects over the years that have now amassed into a kind of 'super-painting' or 'Archival Tablescape', as architect Charles Jenks describes these vistas. It presents a new world in miniature, ordered by way of very personal classification criteria." - Kate MacGarry