Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head ?
I found myself fighting an instinct in Rodney Graham’s new show at the Lisson Gallery. In a witty take on the idea that what an artist makes is determined by his surroundings, Graham plays a decorator (wearing stilts to reach the highest sections) whose work references painting as art, and an artist who makes work which utilises pipe cleaners in a studio which happens to have them lying around. But the most striking feature is the sheer scale of the light boxes, with the room-height triptychs almost twenty feet wide. They look good, but I wondered how much of that was to do with the scale and backlighting, which I suspect could make almost any photograph impressive. Cue that old experiment of taking a photo then assessing the image on my preview screen. Less impactful, of course, but then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t discount the effect of scale in painting or sculpture, but consider it an integral part of the production process and the effect. Yet just because photographs obviously could be printed at a range of scales, the particular scale chosen can seem a contingent matter which shouldn’t be part of the effect. Yes, I reflected, maybe that’s unfair, maybe – to coin a term – it’s mediumist.