a Project space
25 calvin st, spitalfields, london e1 6nw
tel/ fax: 020 7247 5227
www.coverup.org.uk

Edward Allington & Grenville Davey Multiples
Open to the public:
Thursday 24th May - Sunday 17th June
13:00 - 18:00 Fri, Sat, Sun only

Edward Allington

We think of things as whole, a house, a car, a sculpture and so on, yet all these things are made up of parts, of fragments. The devil, as we say, is in the details. And details are parts. There is a notion, and that is all it is, that given a fragment of the ornament of a classical building then we can know the whole. To a certain extent this is true. Because most things are made within a given order, within classicism the order, or orders are known thus: Taxis or the framework. Genera or elements, and symmetry or the relations. If my work has been tinged with classical reference, and I have to admit it has, then it is because of this notion of a generative structure rather than a nostalgia for some impossible past. Indeed what fascinates me is the idea of fragments.

But what happens if we were to add something extra, some thing superfluous? Spurious even? The current project aims to address this question in the form of a multiple. Another way of describing this question of addition is to call it customising, customising is about detail, it is about adding parts or modifying parts to a personal specification or style. Look at it this way, if there is a difference between art and design it is a difference of function. Design can, perhaps be said, to have three separate functions: economic function, symbolic function and ergonomic function. Art can be said to share only two of these: economic and symbolic. There are of course exceptions and the issue remains debatable. Perhaps only the market can, or does resolve such issues? Issues of rarity and distribution, Keynesian economics ie: it’s not what you produce that’s important, but turnover and circulation. The only artist I know to have truly tried to resolve the difference between art production and mass production is Les Levine with his disposables. The artist’s multiple exists somewhere between the two and does so because of the complex reasons of supply and demand.

Shark Shell Streamliner is a custom part, it is a multiple and as such governed by the criteria of its production, it is a spurious symbolic function enhancer, it masquerades as an attempt to fill a market niche. For me it is a prototype for an imagined larger project. It is that extra part, a spoiler that, will make anything you add it to that little bit different, that little bit more personal

Buy yours now while stocks last.

Grenville Davey

The movement in the early 90s from sculptures flush with the wall to leaning objects against the wall introduced in Davey’s work a more full-blooded three-dimensionality and the strong presence of shadow, as well as a turning aside from relief associations. Of course, the resting of these flattened circular objects against a wall associates with the shield set aside but prepared and ready for ensuing action. It also expresses a transitory moment in some activity, an object placed aside for some time before it is put into place, or fitted to something or other. The industrial and military connotations are not contradictory ones. The history of weaponry is one also of technological and industrial progress, as is sculpture. Nevertheless as in much of his sculpture ambiguity is central. The play on recognition and strangeness is a central feature of his work.

The one art in one such ambiguity flourishes is architecture, the art of building. If the most functional of arts, it is also, it may be claimed even now, the supreme bearer of meaning, aesthetic or otherwise. For it is in architecture’s very functional underpinning that metaphor and interpretation finds an assurity. The traditional sculptor either represented the world outside or expressed the imagination (often both), but the architect is always constrained by the functional and hence the familiar, by what we must recognise – a door, an ‘aperture’, a window, a roof, a stairway and so forth. These given functions are embellished, allocated materials and processes. In such a way meanings accrue concerning inside/outside, above and below, front and behind, surface, space. Meaning and art stems from function. For Davey, the reverse is the case. Meaning and art moves towards function, except it is an illusory function, it only seems to be so. Fascinatingly, architecture has always encouraged the metaphor of the body consciously or otherwise. In conversation Davey has described elements of his sculptures as ‘lips’, ‘larynxes’ and ‘eyes’.

Edward Allington
Shark Shell Steamliner, 2001
Working Drawing

Grenville Davey
Working drawing

Edward Allington
Cochlea

Grenville Davey
Little Emperor, 1999

Edward Allington
Decorative Forms Over the World - Nagano

Grenville Davey
Working drawing, 2000

Edward Allington
Tree Ring/Engagement Tree, 2000
Holzhauzen

Grenville Davey
Working drawing, 2000

Edward Allington
Tree Ring/Engagement Tree, 2000
Holzhauzen

Grenville Davey
Eye, 1999
Screenprints

Edward Allington
She - with Texaco Verde, 1997
R-type on painted aluminium

Grenville Davey
3 Minute EYE, 1992
Painted steel

Edward Allington
Cochlea, 1989
Exploded drawing

Grenville Davey
1/3 EyE, 1991
Painted steel