Continuing the Latin American theme, the Zabludowicz Collection in north London is showing an installation by the Brazilian artist Adriano Costa. Born in São Paulo in Brazil in 1975, Costa has become known since his first solo exhibition in São Paulo in 2009 followed by another in Vienna in 2012 and then in London. Costa takes everyday objects, the debris of our society, including mosquito nets, coal, umbrellas, and knitted tapestries as the basic materials for his work, ignoring their original functions, and treating them as elements from which to make sculptures, often seeking to highlight important social and political topics such as how something of high value can be created from thrown-away items of no value.
This is one of the installations by four artists in the current exhibition in this former Methodist church which includes both work from the Collection and new work created specifically for this exhibition. They have a common theme of everyday and common materials, often not associated with art, being used to create artworks that seek to engage with issues of the day. In the Main Hall, Sam Falls has installed work in a variety of media. The most dramatic pieces are large sculptures in copper, marble and coloured aluminium, crisp and sharp against the soft edges and the decaying elements of the original church building. These are supplemented by videos running in the upstairs gallery and a series of hand-dyed fabric wall hangings which were produced in the three weeks before the exhibition on the Finnish island of Sarvisalo, as part of the Zabludowicz Collection residency programme.
In the Back Hall, London-based artist Samara Scott again uses a variety of materials and debris such as make-up, painted silicone, tin-foil and felt to create work of great delicacy. For this exhibition Scott has provided a new installation, centred around large sheets of glass densely encrusted on their reverse with multiple objects. These semi-transparent sculptural surfaces are almost organic in their effect. On the wall is a large wall mural made using toothpaste in a process that bleeds ink from magazine images.
Lastly, Michael E Smith, born in Detroit, USA in 1977 and now working in New Hampshire, has installed work which again uses found materials for works around the gallery where the visitor is uncertain whether they are some confusing remnant of the original building or a new installation.
There is a interesting and subtle relationship between the building in which the Zabludowicz Collection is housed – a decayed Methodist chapel, itself part of the debris of our society which has revived into its new artistic use – and the work of these four artists who take found and unusual objects and create artworks which seek to challenge and question some of the values of our society.