Hobson’s Choice: Caroline Achaintre at Arcade

26 January 2012 By
Hobson's Choice: Caroline Achaintre at Arcade

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

It has been suggested to me by a wit more brilliant than mine (you know who you are!), that my Director’s Choice should be re-titled as `Hobson’s Choice’.

Now, why didn’t I think of that…

15 January – 18 February 2012

Arcade, 87 Lever Street, London EC1V 3RA

Thursday – Saturday 12 – 6pm and by appointment


Arcade has just opened its second exhibition by Caroline Achaintre with the wonderfully onomatopoeic title ‘Trip-Dip’. Drawing is the foundation of Achaintre’s practice, which ranges across watercolours, ceramic sculptures and the most fantastically unexpected hand-tufted wall rugs.  Achaintre’s primary motif is the human head, creating playful mask-like sculptural pieces which literally clown around in their primitive, carnivalesque and fetishistic origins as well as dynamic watercolour paintings and drawings saturated with bleeding colour.  In recent years, she has displayed her sculptural pieces in cabinets, evoking museological situations, or standing on the floor attached to angular steel structures that suggest figurative elements reduced to a form of armature.  In the case of this exhibition, a dozen or so glistening ceramic pieces – some of which look like they are made from ice-cream and leather, in perverse combination – hang around on the walls for unspecified pranks, or in embarrassingly overt forms of display in modular structures whose interior voids have been painted with diluted colour extending the formal auras of these totemic pieces.  There are fewer things I find more satisfying that her unique hand-tufted wall rugs which, like her ceramics and watercolours exploit to the fullest the specific properties of this highly particular media.  Being something of a prankster myself, I loved this show!

Image (extract): © Caroline Achaintre, She Balls, 2011, ceramic, 29 x 20 x 8cm, courtesy the artist and Arcade

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