One of the galleries we look at through the window but don’t often go into is Conny Dietzschold Gallery and its next door space, Multiple Box. We don’t know how they do it in Germany, but all we can say is that it must be a hell of a place to dust.
The main gallery, the Conny Dietzschold bit, is like half a gallery in the front, with the second part at the back divided by a wall and featuring some other artists work. There’s a doorway in the middle of the room and when you go right, you’re in Multiple Box, which is bursting with trestle tables loaded up with books and objects d’ art, every bit of wall space covered with framed art, plinths here and there with video monitors playing weird Euro performance art, more chairs and tables groaning under the weight of various sculptures, books, magazines, artists records, CDs and more, all arranged just so. It makes for great browsing, a bit reminiscent of the bookshop at the Pompidou, and you could spend hours in there looking at things.
The problem with the gallery, as a gallery, is that it’s very hard to see the art – it’s a visual jumble of things all piled up on top of one another and if you’re trying to concentrate on something, it’s bloody hard. Sure, there is a framed print of Peter Davies’ The Fun One Hundred for $4,000, but we came here to look at Lisa Jones’ Memories of Sculpture, (until August 18).
Putting aside our reservations about any show or work of art that uses “memory” in its title, and putting aside the terrible difficulty of looking at the work in the crammed space, this is an excellent show. The works are in two series – rubber and felt objects on the wall and felt objects on the floor and facing wall. Jones’s memory seems to be of objects that look a lot like lungs, or bunches of grapes – weird, febrile things that hang from a rusted pipe on the wall. You can imagine someone on the other side of the wall breathing through the pipe, or of scrofulous air sacks straining with the effort of a terrible cough. There’s a strong surrealist quality to the works, summoning up the ghost of Man Ray on a bender. Our eyes watered as we looked and found ourselves were simultaneously repulsed and attracted. The felt objects, two pieces on the floor and the facing wall, were more soothing and fun – you just wanted to run your fingers across the surface and admire their tactile qualities.