You Turn Me Inside Out, a solo show by Christopher Stead that has just opened at FOLD gallery. Christopher Stead works with hand-torn and found material, where matter is woven into spaces that invite a human presence, participation and play. Industrial and studio waste collide and intermingle, creating a symphony of detritus, which the artist playfully names ‘Tagliatelle’. This recycled material addresses the way in which we interact with our waste and repurposed objects; the exercise of regeneration produces a more sustainable studio practice in times of growing accountability. The matter becomes fluid, morphing into shapes and filling spaces, turning objects inside out to reveal their inner workings; turning lemons into lemonade.
Although Stead is very much rooted in the practice of painting, this tangle of material often occupies the space of sculpture. Contained in piled bundles, caged in gabion baskets or often hung from huge scaffolding towers, these objects transcend the idea of painting as flat or passive; they reveal the inner workings of the medium, the bones of painting, splayed guts and all. There are ‘flat’ paintings where beach sand is mixed with a polymer to create painterly ‘lichen’ that grows over the surfaces, keeping the paintings alive in nature. Peppered, popped and scuffed, their surface is pierced to open the space beyond the canvas, making passive viewing impossible, rejecting online viewing rooms, pushing for a more visceral experience, where the viewer must be able to walk amongst the work to touch, smell and feel the moment in real life.
Created within the socio-political cul-de-sac that is ‘Post-Brexit Britain’, Christopher’s work pokes fun at the inherited hierarchies of the old order, questioning the role and relevance of the art object during times of social prohibition, where contact was reduced to a digital screen and creatives were encouraged to retrain and embrace cyber-tech. Stead is driven by a fear of ‘white cube’ boredom, his work disrupts the paradigms of commercial obedience, trend and cultural hegemony
Christopher Stead You Turn Me Inside Out
Saturday 23rd April 2022 FOLD gallery
About the artist
Christopher Stead b.1974 is a London based multi-disciplinary artist, curator and documentarian of British counterculture. In 2016 Christopher graduated with a First Class BA Hons in Fine Art at the City and Guilds of London Art School, where he received the Painter-Stainers Scholarship Prize and Brian Till Art History Thesis Award. He is currently midway through the MA Painting programme at the Royal College of Art, London and is the co-founder and director of the London based curatorial collective Pigeon Park, which was created in response to the post-pandemic threat posed to artists’ working conditions in the wake of the Covid crisis. Through collaboration, Pigeon Park works with artists to create immersive sculpture and painting exhibitions in unique spaces, fostering artistic growth and engagement within the public sphere in times of restrictions, cutbacks and uncertainty