Chelsea Futurespace

Hepworth Court, Grosvenor Waterside, Gatliff Road (off Ebury Bridge Road), London SW1W 8QP

Ekkehard Altenburger, Crispin Chetwynd, Keith Collins, Richard Elliott, Stephen Farthing, David Ferry, Derek Jarman, Robin Jenkins, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands,  Doug Kuntz, Shoko Maeda, Oborn & Reekie, Tim O'Riley, Emily Rubner, Donald Smith


Bronze Oyster Shells, Crispin Chetwynd 2010

19.07.11 - 02.10.11


Private View Tuesday 19th July 2011 6.00 - 8.30pm


For Chelsea Futurespace's launch in 2006 artist Stephen Farthing created Painting The Atlantic, an impressive 30ft long painting exploring the liquid space between the Thames and Hudson rivers; in 2011, one of his paintings of the sea was divided up, turned into a visual musical "score", and played by a string quartet at the renowned Aldeburgh Festival on the Suffolk Coast. Meanwhile, artist and sailor Robin Jenkins had set himself the monumental task of making water solid in his intriguing bronze sculpture A Second... whilst American photographer Doug Kuntz was flying above the coast of Long Island New York to create his stunning aerial images of marine life. With the work of these three artists as lodestones, Chelsea Futurespace was inspired to return to the theme of water to present the group exhibition H2O.


From the submarine imagery of Derek Jarman's draft poem from his film The Garden, through to architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' Thames Lido - a proposal for a swimming pool/ballroom on the River Thames - the work in this exhibition is hugely varied in its approach: Ekkehard Altenburger's public water sculpture directly outside of Chelsea Futurespace is part of the architectural landscape of Grosvenor Waterside, designed, engineered, and built in stone and granite;  Richard Elliot's small and intricate watercolours rest gently on their paper surface. Shoko Maeda's photographs evoke a solitary almost melancholic mood akin to the paintings of the 19th century German painter Caspar David Friedrich, whilst Oborn and Reekie's photograph, Sydney Swimming Pool, is populated with sporty revellers and sets the manmade pool against the powerful and fast moving waves of the Bondi coast.


Tim O'Riley is interested in the relationships between art and science and in his work for H2O he takes prosaic scientific instruments such as ship's compasses and imbues them with layers of poetic meaning. The shimmering blue surfaces of Emily Rubner's paintings create the illusion of endless depth, her combinations of oils and pigments are in an indeterminate flux and even the artist cannot determine their final form. Like Rubner's paintings, the original shells of Crispin Chetwynd's beautifully cast bronze oysters found their shape organically over time, this work brings together our visual and gustatory senses and quietly speaks of water as a life force. Donald Smith's 'concrete poem' uses coloured text to create a minimal pictogram seascape, whilst David Ferry's rich collaged images surreally turn England's stately homes into over sized aquarium tanks replete with giant exotic fish.  


Keith Collins experienced the forces of the sea when he worked on fishing boats in the English Channel, but his photographs in this exhibition capture water in the form of early morning mist around his cottage in Dungeness. The eerie, watery atmosphere around fishermens' sheds and the sculptural forms of driftwood and fenceposts combine with the brooding presence of Dungeness Nuclear Power Station to produce delicate but portentous images not unlike certain Japanese woodcuts and Post Impressionist works.


It is clear that there are infinite combinations of artists who have worked on the theme of water and an infinite number of ways to approach an exhibition on the subject; from representations of dripping taps to a full blown Tsunami we could fill museums throughout the world. H2O is a drop in the ocean.


Time Out says

Rate it

Group show with work on the theme of water by 15 artists, among them Crispin Chetwynd's cast bronze oyster shells and Keith Collins's photographs of the early morning mist around his cottage in Dungeness.