Playful Aggressions opens at Greengrassi, and Sam Bakewell’s Time for Waste at Corvi-Mora

February saw the opening of two new exhibitions in the Kempsford Road spaces occupied by Corvi-Mora and Greengrassi galleries.

Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.
Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.

Greengrassi have unfurled a group show titled Playful Aggressions featuring work by Italian artist Guendalina Cerruti, London based Holly Hendry, and Zoe Williams who is currently represented by Galerie Antoine Levi in Paris. The exhibition is also accompanied by a “story by Charlie Fox” as described in the press release. Charlie is known for his fictional and non-fictional writings. He shot to fame at the publication of his book of essays, ‘This Young Monster’, by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017, which gobsmacked me when I finally read it earlier this year.

Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.
Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.

Fox’s work feeds the nostalgic beast inside with a visual exploration of the dark and the monstrous. His sculptural 90’s era childhood shrine called “My Gremlin Did Some Wicked Things”, is complete with a pink Gremlin gizmo doll propped up on a black chest of drawers, a red shaggy rug that lies before it, with a copy of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and a cassette player that plays an eerie recording of a child’s voice. The installation is accompanied by a green A4 file of handouts with notes and drawings, titled “Psychiatric Notes for pubescent male with “Gremlins” related psychosis/1990”. There were a couple of works that I kept orbiting around in an attempt to connect with the theme of the show, but ultimately Charlie Fox’s story commands the most focus.

Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.
Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.

Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.
Playful Agressions Installation Image courtesy of the artists and greengrassi, London. Photos by Marcus Leith.

The three that I found the most interesting were the large-scale PVC banners by Zoe Williams. A pair of them are titled Couple and Goddess, and depict bizarre saccharine looking creatures reminiscent of childhood keychain toys against violently bright backdrops. They trigger a different sense of playful aggression to the one experienced when thumbing through the illustrations of wicked gremlins in Charlie Fox’s psychiatric drawings. The third work, Chamber Aide on Yellow is an equally uncomfortable juxtaposition of textures that had me grinding my teeth.

Time For Waste installation Image courtesy of the artist and Corvi-Mora, London.Photos by Marcus Leith.
Time For Waste installation Image courtesy of the artist and Corvi-Mora, London.Photos by Marcus Leith.

Meanwhile, Corvi Mora across the road is showing Sam Bakewell’s Time For Waste. Formerly ceramics resident at the V&A, the artist has constructed powerful little installations from the dust, fragments and other waste material that he has carefully kept over the last 10 years of his practice.

The results are intriguing piles of highly pigmented powder displayed on coloured blocks which reveal themselves as the negative space left behind from where the powder has been carefully brushed into little mounds of ceramic space dust. I found myself wondering what was used to fix the delicate piles into place, careful not to breathe too close to them. Amongst the dust installations are also hollow clay blocks topped with thick expressive smears of what resembles fired paint, apparently the result of colour investigations the artist first dabbled in on his MA ten years ago at the RCA.

Time for Waste is a delightful show that interrogates the relationship between the artist’s work and waste, and the passing of time through the act of collecting and carefully storing it. The exhibition is accompanied by 150 free editions of a double-sided risographed A3 poster with a text by Edmund de Waal.

Playful Aggressions till 23rd March www.greengrassi.com

Time For Waste installation Image courtesy of the artist and Corvi-Mora, London.Photos by Marcus Leith.
Time For Waste installation Image courtesy of the artist and Corvi-Mora, London.Photos by Marcus Leith.

About Ksenya Blokhina

Hailing from Switzerland with Russian origins, Ksenya has lived in the UK for ten years. She has experience in the commercial art world as well as artists rights management. currently working as Copyright and Licensing officer at Art UK. Hailing from Switzerland with Russian origins, Ksenya has lived in the UK for ten years. Writing interests include exhibitions of contemporary art in London and post soviet archive and memory.