Currently on view at Sadie Coles HQ’s Davies Street location in London, artist Klara Liden has orchestrated a body of new works drawing on the urban landscape, its moments of improvised and recontextualized materiality, and peculiar interrogations of these spaces through the body and through the body populace. At the center of the show is an investigation of cities and landscapes, and how human agency slowly transmutes and transfigures much the space within it.
The show centers in particular on the materiality of graffiti, the eminently temporary and improvisational gestures that mark so much of the urban landscape. Covering various junction boxes and other utility containers with streaks and strokes of paint recalling signatures, doodles and playful, cryptic messages, Liden seems to conjure an unseen population of city dwellers, passing by these boxes each day, and leaving their particular touches and narrative lines across them. This introduction of alternative perspectives, of participation in the material fabric of urban space, gives theses works an intriguing and submerged backstory, appearing as if they had been plucked directly out of the landscape of some unknown landscape.
In another junction box work, Liden twists the storyline, allowing a thick impasto of lichens to grow over its surface, dotting its facade with sparks and flickers of color that turn the focus of the show towards even more abstract sensations of agency. With this lichen-covered piece, we give momentary consideration to unseen neighbors, participants in the daily procession of life going unseen by our perambulations around towns and city centers.
These concepts are paralleled with a peculiar set of lamp-like structures, constructed from plastic tanks, water and light, and suspended in lopsided arrangements around the space. Giving the impression of human skin, they seem as if human forms transmuted, a disembodied human form left to animate and expand on the world of the gallery, and the world of the city, even as the human form itself remains absent.
The exhibition closes October 31st.
— D. Creahan
Klara Liden: Turn Me On [Exhibition Site]