As the arrival of Spring brings with it the first fecund shoots of new growth, it brings too the exhibition April is the cruellest month, breeding . This group of works embodies growth and change, but not in a sylvan or bucolic sense, rather their transformation is more insidious, relying on seepage and contamination, crystalline growth, dust breeding, and on the fall of light and the animation of surface. Instead of mellifluous blooms and budding trees, these works animate the intricate and no less beautiful progress of organic spread and entropic decay.
The growth and chromatic modulation of algae within Barbara Nemitz 's hermetically sealed Infinity Garden is scrutinized in the images documenting 4 years of this studio-based experiment. David Adkins ' uprooted and struggling Sapling feels caught on the threshold between hope and failure. Despite its pathetic status, a creeping malevolence persists, as colour leaches from its foliage and stains the gallery wall. Jayne Wilton captures on copperplate single exhaled breaths, which when acid-etched create amorphous forms. The respiratory exchange of gases that perpetuates the body, is echoed in the action of the acid on the plate, exposing vulnerable copper to the air and instigating a slowly mutating, technicolour flowering.
The image in the paintings of Neil Annett and Jacqui Hallum sits uncertainly. In Annett's Visitation smudges and streaks of paint seem on the cusp of coalescing into an Alpine vista, though the inclement weather seems simultaneously to be pulling the image apart. In Hallum's The Spring and Summer of my Belief a fragment of a Byzantine fresco is gradually obfuscated as a skin of potassium permanganate and magnesium sulphate extends across its surface. The new colour information introduced by this invading chemistry interacts with the layers below re-ordering its formal arrangement.
In Ella McCartney 's Blocks , letter forms are positioned face-to-face, rather than side-by-side, rendering their function as containers of legible meaning redundant. The succession of enlargements in the production of this huge photocopy both fractures the photographic document and homogenizes the image, the mark (from which the image is built), and the paper support. The written word undergoes a very different deconstruction in Finlay Taylor 's Scientists . A copy of Nabakov's Blues (a scientific reassessment of the author's contribution to l epidoptery ) was secreted among the mulch of the artist's Dulwich garden to be excavated at a later date, its pages now testifying to the fertile sustenance that it offered to the insects, mollusc and fungi on that site.
The remnants of European Modernism, as seen from the vantage point of today, bear witness to the instability of form and meaning through time. Giles Round 's print on found canvas support, Like zen archery... the straight-sawed line begins deep in your mind , shows the accumulation of sawdust amassed through the production of his facsimile Corbusier furniture (shown in LIDO's first exhibition The Dance Card ). The fetishistic status of this byproduct is as uncertain as the once utilitarian, now highly sort after, shelving unit. Benjamin Beker 's Untitled Blocks photographed in the politically volatile former-Yugoslavia seem to echo organic cellular growth, each identical architectural apartment appearing to have split off from its neighbour. At the same time, the idiosyncratic decorative additions made by generations of inhabitants, coupled with the accretion of dirt across its surface, serve to unpick the social ideology that brought these blocks into being.
With a nod to exhibitions such as Arte Povera + Azioni Povera (Amalfi, Italy, 1968) and 9 at Leo Castelli (Castelli Warehouse, New York, 1968), and in sympathy with this exhibition, LIDO itself appears mid transformation. The Victorian shell of the building is not completely neutralized and the temporary walls are only partially whitewashed. The gallery has a feeling of vulnerability, appearing only part made-up, and this engagement with change and instability is shared and celebrated in all of the works shown here.