Galleries - November 2015

NOVEMBER 2015 GALLERIES 49 different piece, consisting of five sleek humanoid figures, four of which rotate round the central, more isolated figure, a work which by its very nature forces the viewer to interact with its changing dynamics. The sculptures are not a permanent fixture at this site so, if you want to go and see them you have until January – well worth the trouble! Nicholas Usherwood Working space “I can’t see anything at all” – a woman in a red coat strides in and promptly back out of South London Gallery’s main exhibition space within which Thea Djordjadze (Ma Sa i a ly e a se – de, until 29 November) has placed, hammered and slotted her new installation. Although a strange comment considering the woman’s adept navigation of the exit, it calls attention to the installation’s minimal impact on the huge room. The works’ subtle presence could be due to Djordjadze’s use of recycled ‘everyday’ objects. Wooden boards and plexiglass she hardly tampers with, apart from sometimes staining, or brushing with a single stroke of blue. Their arrangement, ‘shelving’ to the left, ‘stage’ to the right, constructions on the floor, means the room feels bare. Besides the room and installation, viewers are uncomfortably forced also to confront each other. Although inspired by the raised houses found in villages in Figuring trees Nightingales may no longer sing there and developers have tried their hardest to change it, but Berkeley Square still, somehow or other, retains some essence of its former, more romantic charm as the hub of the old Mayfair of more aristocratic times. Its modest size, gentle southward slope and towering plane trees make it an attractive focus for some interesting artistic enterprises – upmarket art fairs and sculpture above all. The latest of these focuses on the atrium of Berkeley Square House where the dynamic South African born sculptor Jill Berelowitz, has recently had two major new pieces installed – one, appropriately enough, given its setting, entitled ‘DNA Tree ‘, the other ‘Moving Forward’ . From a medical family in Johannesburg, one of the themes of her much admired work has always been the underlying structure of the human body and in ‘DNA Tree’ she creates a dramatic tree form, in which the branches are linked by conjoined human bodies, and over which is superimposed the recognisable structure of the DNA from which both the tree and human beings gain their immense strength and vitality. There is, at the same time of course, the potent symbolism of The Tree of Life, the evolutionary tree that leads from the notional first man and woman – Adam and Eve if you like – coming out of Africa to the present day. ‘Moving Forward’ is a rather Georgia, her birthplace, it is site- specific. The wooden support structures under the ‘stage’ mimic the ceiling’s dentils. The brushstrokes of blue paint and dyed wood highlight the bluish shadow cast by the black ‘staging’. The objects create natural interventions, forcing us to reassess their site, allowing more to be seen, rather than nothing at all. Emily Medd Dark matters Paul Rumsey’s powerful black visions transport us through satire and vigorous command of form, tone and mood into a gothic world of furies, myths and nightmares. Their most disturbing quality is that they do embody the anomie and bleak absurdity of contemporary political and social life. Reminiscent of Goya’s Los Caprichos, Doré’s visions of the Inferno, of Daumier, Brueghel, Piranesi - his grand guignol charcoal drawings and etchings nevertheless cohere into a distinctive robust style all his own. The brooding tension of ‘Cerberus with Boat’ for example is achieved by the virtuosity of his chiaroscuro, ‘Dove Tank’ with his grim humour. Showing at Chappel Galleries (14 November to 6 December), these images will haunt and inspire unease for a long time. Rosemary Clunie CODA from left: Thea Djordjadze ‘Installation view’, South London Gallery Jill Berelowitz ‘Moving Forward’ Paul Rumsey ‘Autumn’, Chappel Galleries