Monday, 29 October 2007


Hauser & Wirth London
21st Sept - Oct 27 2007

Amid changeable weather, the scarf and the sun oscillating, London’s Hauser & Wirth Gallery’s new show of paintings by Michael Raedecker calms and agitates by turn busy Piccadilly shoppers. Greys and muted purples, large rough canvases brought together in triptychs, groups of four, or two, or some standing on their own, striated by thread, holes, hair and wool.

I don’t much care for painting as such, and am, therefore, going to pin-point one specific exigency in this exhibition, one moment of difference. The working of the exhibition itself, that is the intention, the expected meaning if you will, calls for something very different to what is actually produced. This operation of differentiation occurs at the moment of the relation between the works themselves and that that we shall call extraneous to the work. In this instance the extraneousness is produced by the internal architecture of the building, the stairs, the lift, the door ways, the vault and the safe in the vault.

If one follows the stairs down to the vault, where the exhibition is continued by two more works (denial and exhibit (sic) 2007), the final space is guarded by a solid Chatwood & Milner ‘Fire and Thief Resistant’ vault door. Inside the vault another interesting encounter occurs. Ahead and on the left wall the paintings hang, but on the right wall, in similar grey tones stands a large purposefully open safe, echoing in colour, dimension and some other formal qualities (for example, the way the safe is split into two compartments, a diptych, if you like) the paintings on this level and upstairs in the main gallery. An interesting curatorial decision has been made in this exhibition; the viewer is drawn into the space downstairs ostensibly to view more banal paintings, but encounters instead the trappings of the buildings past. All galleries have their quirks, each situation, or context imbues experience with meaning, exhibitions operate syntactically, sense overflows. And it is this production of difference, of something extra or other, that is of interest here. One may wonder whether this enaction of what Robert Bruegel would call ‘migration of form’ is intentioned by the curator. Whether it is or not, the excess created operates beyond what might be called a framing device; the extraneous objects in the space, in this case the safe and the vault door, are given the same attention as the work, supplementing Raedecker’s paintings with something beyond them.

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