British artist Keith Wilson has brought a flavour of the cattle yard to the heart of urban London at the Economist Plaza. Viewers are invited to meander through a sinuous path created by a shell of galvanised steel rails that form the sculpture.
A sinister aura gradually permeates as one realises that this work is in fact inspired from related apparatus used in slaughterhouses as a way of calming cattle on route to their deaths.
Keith Wilson has described his sculptures as having a ‘chameleon-like’ quality, whereby the immediate context plays an influential role in their experience and interpretation. According to the artist, the strength of his sculptures lies ‘…in the margins of what they might mean – their spare capacity – and it’s from here that their action in the world springs’.
Equally pertinent for Double-Blind S-Bend is the commentary provided by Art Monthly editor, Patricia Bickers, about a similar work by Keith Wilson entitled Lady Grey, 2003, which she purchased on behalf of the Contemporary Art Society:
‘Wilson… has constructed or redeployed utilitarian agricultural structures – barriers, hurdles, leaning rails, feeding pens, arenas and bidding stands – both indoors and out, using them literally to corral space in a knowingly sculptural way, but also in an overtly coercive way that is reminiscent of their use as barriers and pens in crowd control. Invisible because of their ubiquity, both in their urban and rural contexts, Wilson charges these structures with new meanings, though the objects remain stubbornly themselves’.*
Keith Wilson’s solo shows include: Keith Wilson: Galvanised Steel, Milton Keynes Gallery, 2004; Liberty Pound, Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon, 2004; Z is for Ziggurat, One in the Other, London 2003; Cattle Market, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, 2003; and Make it Snow, Milch, London 2001.
Group shows include: Trailer, Man in the Holocene, London, 2004; Agora, Transition Gallery, London 2004; The Impossible Collection, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2003; Strike, Wolverhampton City Art Gallery, 2003; Flights of Reality, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2002; Nothing, NGCA, touring, 2001; and A Shot in the Head, Lisson Gallery, London, 2000.
*Patricia Bickers,‘It could happen to you’, in the catalogue ShowCASe – Contemporary Art For The UK, Contemporary Art Society, 2005