Artist Marcin Dudek’s work finds particular and complex sites for intervention in the language of the everyday, charging familiar forms and structures with a loose, vibrant energy that underscores cultural tensions, frictive languages, and modes of engagement that underline conflict and collision. This mode of practice finds particular expression in NEOPLAN, the artist’s sixth solo exhibition with Edel Assanti on at the gallery’s London exhibition space. and running concurrently with his solo show at Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp, and the launch of his new monograph.
The show takes as its centerpiece the raw energy of a football fan club on the road to support their team at an away game in a hostile rival city, installing the imposing shell of a disused and disassembled tour bus runs across the gallery, branded “Neoplan” and painted with the snarling dog logo of Bucharest team FC Dinamo. The bus is open for exploration, with an interior that folds out into a world of its own. Inspired by Polish artist Bronislaw Wojciech Linke’s surrealist painting, Autobus (1959-1961), featuring a city bus overflowing with a slew of nightmarish spectres and human-object hybrids, the bus’s interior is an echo chamber of visceral emotion and collective expression associated with the journey towards match day confrontation. Inside the installation, bus seats anthropomorphize and contort, morphing into a section of stadium terracing representative of the final destination. Suspended above the bus, a large textile serves as its roof, constructed from second-hand clothes stitched together. Tracksuits, hoodies, jerseys and trainers are stitched together, acting as a haunting flag or monument to the crowd that inhabited this space.
The work is a continuation of the artist’s work creating “memory boxes,” sites that capture and archive lost spaces specific to his own experiences yet emblematic of the latent toxicity and violence associated with the construction of group identity. The space here is rife with implied violence; memories of football hooligans, riots, and collisions with foreigh fans, and even incorporates biographical data of these figures, turning Dudek’s memories into a cultural and social exploration, both of these teams, the sport, the broader culture, and himself.
The show closes September 1st.
– D. Creahan
Marcin Dudek at Edel Assanti [Exhibition Site]