14
Jul 04

Most of the work in Tom Friedman’s current show

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 172 views

Most of the work in Tom Friedman’s current show at the South London Gallery is entertaining enough without being breathtaking, or even especially exciting. Much of it consists of plays on perspective: several boxes of Cheerios spliced to form the cereal box equivalent to the stretch limo; a tiny man made of quarter-inch wooden cubes perches precariously on a globe made of the same; on the floor sits a picture of a museum plinth with an old bone (and more) which looks like it should turn optical-illusion real if looked at from the correct angle…. the correct angle doesn’t seem to exist.

Some of the fun is to be found in the titles of the work. Many are named Untitled (with a description of the work in brackets), like “Untitled (aluminium foil guitarist)”, which is a flimsy foil Kravitzalike, and a hyper-real butterfly feeding on a small pile of horse dung, called “True Love 2004 (butterfly on shit)”.

One piece in particular, though, has what Marcello would refer to as “punctum”. A huge human figure, maybe thirteen feet tall, indistinct and blue, looks down to a tiny, more detailed man at his feet. The tiny man, no more than three inches tall, looks up at the giant. Halfway inbetween, we’re both giant and dwarfed and the whole piece seems a gentle take on sympathy, or empathy, or both.

The best news of all, mind, is that the South London Gallery is open again. It’s had a lengthy spell of closure for refurbishment and I’ve missed the old place. The refurb doesn’t seem to have changed much about the exhibition space, though it’s improved accessibility and included a cute little cafe which smells of nice coffee. Welcome Back SLG!

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