Hobson’s Choice: Michael Dean, thoughts, at Cubitt Gallery

26 October 2012 By
© Michael Dean, thoughts, 2012, Cubitt Gallery installation view
© Michael Dean, thoughts, 2012, Cubitt Gallery installation view

5 October – 4 November 2012

8 Angel Mews, London N1 9HH


Open Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 6pm

For those of you suffering from visual fatigue after Frieze and FIAC, may I recommend you visit Michael Dean’s minimal exhibition at Cubitt in Islington as a way of cleansing your weary eyes.  Surprisingly, this is the first solo presentation by this interesting young artist at a London public gallery. Dean has kept his presentation to a distilled and essential form, characteristic of the rigorous and highly attuned mode of his practice.  Since his teenage years, Dean has developed a typographic system from which, in recent years, he has developed cast concrete sculptural forms – which are like variegated monoliths of different dimensions – and which explore the possibilities arising in the transmutation of language from the spoken word to its graphic representation and on to its subsequent reading.  His practice ranges across poetry, short plays and publications and these often accompany his exhibitions, incorporating sculpture, photography, text and performance.  Operating like codified, mute signifiers, there is a form of tender rescue at the heart of his work.  In the accompanying exhibition notes, Dean describes his intentions as ‘trying to write the freedom of the viewer into the text’ and ‘a loving action around thinking about my presence in space in relation to someone else beholding what I leave behind now’.  Always carefully considered in relation to the environment of their display, Dean uses the gallery as a site of interaction between different elements and media, locking objects into their own interior and material relations to bind the spoken, printed and signified word.  If Wittgenstein claimed there can be no such thing as a private language – an untranslatable lexicon of which only one person can make sense – Dean shows how meaning from a seemingly private source can be uncovered enough to generate a sense of release by being then lost again in translation.