At the De La Warr: Caroline Achaintre, “Fantômas”

Mixing ceramic sculpture and work described as ‘hand tufted wall hangings’, Caroline Achaintre’s work now occupies the space in the De La Warr just next to the coffee queue. I think they call it gallery two but I’m usually rushing by for a caffeine fix and in too much of a hurry to read the signs. I think it says how much I liked the display by Achaintre that I not only stopped but I paused, took in and inwardly digested too. I left having forgotten to get a coffee.

Taking its cue from modern art responses to non-Westerm cultures, Achaintre’s work unashamedly draws heavily from the well of what might be called primitivism. We’re conjuring emotional connections here, not attempting to represent the world as is. The entry notes talk of face masks and carnivale; I saw those but also monsters, fears and friends. I’d love to see what could be done by casting shadows with these pieces. Others may see nothing at all and want to storm by for their coffee and sea view. For those who stay, there’s also a nice audio featuring young people’s responses to the work.

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