Hobson’s Choice: Paloma Varge Weisz at Sadie Coles

13 February 2012 By
Hobson's Choice: Paloma Varga Weisz at Sadie Coles

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

12 January – 25 February 2012

Sadie Coles, 4 New Burlington Place, London W1S 2HS

Tuesday – Saturday 11-6pm


Walking through Sadie Coles’s gallery in New Burlington Place is like entering an illustrated fairy-tale populated by delicate watercolours, and small hobbit-like figurines and busts, hewn from clay and heavily glazed in an array of muted colours, which sit on tables throughout the space.   Paloma Varga Weisz’s exhibition has a folkloric mood, almost medieval in spirit, conjuring up associations of headstones, covered in lichen and moss, languishing in some gothic imagination.  Faces, hang or emerge from the clinical white walls of the gallery, suspended between consciousness and unconsciousness.  The idea of ‘the father’ and ‘the mother’, along with monsters – real or imagined, who knows? – recur throughout the exhibition, suggesting a childhood psychological drama, trapped in time.  ‘Father, Young and Father, Old’ are like death-masks of a parent recollected – a set of associations and feelings alluding representation and reduced to casts of a visage of someone more absent by being rendered.  In the crypt-like gloom of the downstairs space, ‘Mother’ lies in repose fixed in un-idealised representation like a funerary sculpture, and the walls opposite are covered with nursery rhyme motifs and Beatrix Potter characters, engulfed by erratic clouds of black paint.  Hovering between autobiographical and universal motifs, this is a quietly unsettling journey into a non-specific psyche.

Image: © Paloma Varga Weisz, Mother (installation view), 2012, image courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles

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