VITRINE (founded by Alys Williams) commissions a different installation artwork every two months
London artist Charlie Godet Thomas‘s work Torshlusspanik is currently being exhibited. It consists of five mixed media pieces against an off-white canvas, connected through a zigzag of black scaffolding.
The public gallery runs adjacent to a functioning office building, facing outwards onto Bermondsey Square. That’s right, free art! The square is also scattered with sculptural art by Frances Richardson. Aesthetically, these work well together to blur the lines between gallery and real world.
Within the mix of bars, shops and offices the VITRINE gallery integrates art into everyday life.
I viewed Thomas’s work at night, the bright white light illuminated the entire square, drawing the passing public in like moths. Cast rubber prints slide off their canvases and lie crinkled on the floor. Walking sticks droop lifelessly over the black scaffolding.
Through this amazing craftsmanship we are left with a sense of confusion, as objects which are normally solid seem malleable and aging. This
tension connects to the title Torshlusspanik, a German word describing the feeling of panic cause by the ticking of the biological clock. The public are reminded of the ephemeral nature of life thought the exhaustion of these inanimate objects.
VITRINE aims to examine the material processes of art and encourage the development and experimentation of the artist. Thomas’s craftsmanship is more than impressive however, conceptually, is a little difficult to understand. For example: in-depth references to American author Kurt Vonnegut through repetitious imagery of ‘Drano’ (a product often involved in the death of his characters).
Although this does connect nicely to the tone of Torshlusspanik as a mortality piece, references like this may be just too subtle for this kind of exhibition.