Rae Hicks, Charles Sandford: Red Dog, Black Wolf Will You Remember Your Name?

Curated by Isabel Dexter
Preview 13 August 2015, 6:30-9pm 

 

Pi Artworks is pleased to announce the second exhibition of its summer programme. The French phrase 'entre le chien et le loup' (between dog and wolf) describes a moment during dusk, before dark, where one cannot distinguish between a dog and a wolf. It expresses the ambiguity between the familiar and the comfortable, versus the unknown and the dangerous. Between the  domestic and the wild, the living and the dead. It is a liminal state of in-betweenness; that uncertain, alluring threshold between hope and fear. 

For Red Dog, Black Wolf. Will You Remember Your Name?  the gallery will be subsumed by a constellation of works by London-based artists Charles Sandford and Rae Hicks. Through a series of interventions the gallery will be transformed into a semi-domestic, eerie interior populated by objects, which span paintings, sculpture, installation and performance. These objects will employ recognisable forms and shapes, which enable them to simultaneously retain their subjective autonomy as artworks, whilst at the same time act as placeholders for domestic and funeral motifs, creating an uncanny impression of double identities jostling for attention. 

Whilst holding their position in the room, these objects are themselves aesthetic explorations of the forms which they impersonate. Rae Hicks's Double Gazing (2015) lapses from its immediate recognisability as a picture of a window being cleaned into a purely compositional, semi-abstract arrangement. Behind a red curtain the faint pattering of invisible hands moves the velvet, startlingly violent and seductive, in Charles Sandford's Rape Scene (2014). Meanwhile, in Life and How To Live It (2015) the monochrome books on a book shelf turn out to be merely two-dimensional, painted placards of themselves. Outside the gallery, an empty funeral hearse is parked, waiting. A man dressed in black slowly polishes the hearse, patiently expecting his next fare. 

Rather than insisting on a particular response to itself, Red Dog, Black Wolf. Will You Remember Your Name? will invite the participants of the space to both inhabit and be inhabited by the works. In this manner the gallery will mirror the alchemical effects of twilight, becoming a site of collective and unexpected potential meaning-making and meaning-breaking. 

Being neither 'known' nor 'unknown', these maybe dog, maybe wolf objects begin to beg the question are we in a gallery space in Fitzrovia? Or have we, rather like Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, slipped down a rabbit hole and found ourselves in an alternative space where social conventions are inverted and the familiar becomes the unfamiliar?