‘Something for Nothing’: Paul’s ART STUFF ON A TRAIN #207


Samuel Zealey: ‘Concord’, 2017

An artwork for nothing? That’s a good trade, plain as the Concorde on your face. But wait… The star of Samuel Zealey’s new show is probably what he calls – being a fan of the American master – his ‘Serra in Reverse’. Where Serra uses the force of gravity pressing them together to keep precarious-looking giant steel plates from falling on us, Zealey sets the plates of ‘Life Line’ against each other so they push apart. No welding, just a stretched rope, prevents them falling down. It’s a little worrying, the more so when so much of the world seems about to collapse. The other big works at the Cob Gallery in Camden (‘Planes’ to 8 April) are the show-titling Folded Steel Plane Series’, several person-sized heavy metal versions of some of the 36 ways Zealey’s researches have tracked down for folding a paper plane. The fact that they’re also geometrical planes is emphasised by this move, and there’s a critical edge – typical of Zealey;s environmental focus – in the contrast in noxious emissions between model and reality. And the freebie? What was more natural than to ask Zealey to demonstrate his prowess by folding the show’s press release into a paper plane, and signing it as an edition. As if planned, the fold threw up planes on the wings, and it didn’t fly badly, either…


My Zealey edition contemplates a garden launch


Installation view with ‘Life Line’, 2017

About Paul Carey-Kent

Art critic and curator, based in Southampton. I write most regularly for Art Monthly, Frieze, The Art Newspaper, Border Crossings, STATE, Photomonitor, Art Critical, ArtLyst... and, of course, FAD - when I'm on the train to and from my job in London as a health and social care financial policy analyst.