It’s a pleasure to come across an exhibition, however small, whose aims are not deliberately obscure, whose influences are acknowledged and whose results are rewarding. Welcome to Avenue des Gobelins, a collection of nine works now on display at Paradise Row on Newman Street in London. Inspired by Atget, informed by surrealism and intriguingly modern.
Avenue des Gobelins is a title taken from Eugene Atget’s 19th century Parisian shopfronts – those documents for artists that have become iconic in their own right – and the theme here is of consumption and material desire. The styling is through the use of multiple or blended 35mm film exposures to pay reference to the works of the 1920s and 1930 surrealists (if you’ve seen Lee Miller’s work from this time you’ll be there) and the toning and processing comes straight of the advertising world. Glossy, rich, black and white.
The image above – The Consumystic I (face and cloths) – is a good example of what to expect. What appears to be a definitive image reveals quickly many layers. There is both connection and complete disconnection, it is easily understood and not easy to explain. The themes of longing, commercialism, style and chaos all fuse. And when shown in what appears to be an abandoned space just off Oxford Street the mixture of high end glamour advertising style and enigmatic images of the unattainable becomes even more stimulating.