Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Gary Hume, White Cube Bermondsey

The YBAs still have their appeal for me, so the promise of a new work - a sculpture, no less - by Gary Hume pulled me over to the White Cube's franchise in Bermondsey (always been a sucker for Gary Hume). Indeed the gallery itself is quite a draw for me, a newbie to the site. I wasn't disappointed by either.

The gallery has a super, wide open forecourt, making it look like a municipal building of the late 1950s. The doors are tall, heavy and give onto a wide foyer and corridor down the centre of the building. Plain, serviceable gallery space, as suggested by the name of the chain. It's not disimilar to either its parent White Cube in Hoxton - or even the Gagosian on Britannia Street, King's Cross. Uniformity of space is fine by me, as long as there it is to the advantage of the work on display.

Hume's Liberty Grip is a tall bronze, constructed from reproductions of the limbs of shop mannequins. There was a fair bit of curatorial guff about figurative suggestion (a hand) and mischief or irony. I saw a bit of Magritte in it, maybe even Degas. It is shown in a room called 9x9x9, presumably as these are the dimensions in metres. Goodness knows how they moved the piece in.

The main room of the gallery is currently home to a major exhibition of the print work of Chuck Close. The space is indoor recreation centre-sized, with a central block creating an effective display ring. There is also a smaller room showing Eddie Peake's performance installation Adjective Machine Gun later in the week. All we had to look at was a bloke in a body stocking on roller skates, which is a bit Hipster for Bermondsey, frankly.

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