Magazine article Art Monthly

Emma Hart: TO DO

Magazine article Art Monthly

Emma Hart: TO DO

Article excerpt

Matt's Gallery London 28 September to 20 November

The circular perimeter of Emma Hart's TO DO comprises tripods embellished with sculptural elements and digital cameras showing films on the play-back function. This staging initially appears to form a gestalt-like whole. Yet having perambulated around the edge, self-consciously avoiding the theatrical centre stage of this installation in the round, TO DO conversely reveals itself as continuously fragmenting and regrouping, constituted by multiple sculptures that could form individual works. The discordant sound emanating from the small digital cameras contributes to this effect, a babble of language that clarifies as you move closer.

On each sculpture, the tripod acts as the architecture holding the work together. Though every element is different, all are composed and sustained by a triplet of media: sculpture, sound and film. Repeated motifs build up to produce a number of threads that contribute to the coalescent effect of stepping back and viewing the artwork as a united assembly of objects. TO DO cites past works such as Hart's For Arrows, 2010, and conceptually rests on an attempt to commandeer a group of cyborg-like assistants (the cameras mounted on each work are invested with a certain agency) to fabricate and produce her work. Despite a heightened awareness of the presence of multiple cameras, the viewer's participation in TO DO avoids a trite repetition of the tropes contained within Dan Graham's Time Delay Room, 1974, or John Baldessari's Brain/Cloud, 2009. Rather than through technological trickery, this work is instead activated by how one navigates the sometimes overwhelming multiplicity of elements.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The cameras affixed to the armature of each tripod are supplemented and enclosed by sculptural components, many of which utilise Day-Glo elements. Cut-out pictures of birds, framed photographs of people wielding binoculars and synthetic feathers generate a network of imagery that seemingly represents a twitcher's demented fantasy. What could tip over into a twee speculation on bird watching is piqued at various intervals by the abrasiveness of the sound, plasticity of other elements and a film of a vacuum cleaner nozzle sucking up cut-outs of feathered creatures. Another motif accumulates through the repeated appearance of a gnarled, putrid yellow, joke-shop witch's hand. On one screen the disembodied hand caresses and releases a fistful of feathers, while elsewhere the hand manically opens and slams shut a kitchen drawer containing a cutlery tray that hosts a tiny Borrower-like cut-out photograph of Hart. …

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