Daniel Dorall, Ruth Fleishman, Cecilia Fogelberg and Tim Silver
27 November- 13 December 2008
Blindside invited past exhibitors Daniel Dorall, Ruth Fleishman, Cecilia Fogelberg and Tim Silver, back to the gallery and asked the participating artists to create "B-side" work from their current practice. Traditionally, when a band released a single on a vinyl record, long before the advent of file sharing and peer-to-peer, one side of the record contained the then smash hit single and the opposite side, the b-side, often had an instrumental version, maybe a a novelty polka rendition or perhaps other songs the band deemed werent worthy for release on their own.
B-side conjures ideas of failure and novelty, often viewed as not being serious and lacking of emotional or intellectual investment from the creative mind responsible, so why explore the b-side when by its very nature is is to be fundimentally lacking? Perhaps the answer to this can best be answered by detailing the work of a couple of the exhibiting artists.
Daniel Dorall whom usually reserves his work to using 1:100 scale miniature people and mazes made out of card enlarged his small, almost hand held sculptural work a hundred fold, creating an actual maze in the space that gallery visitors were forced to interact with and traverse as soon as they entered the door. The maze though larger was still made out of Dorall's maze construction material of choice, cardboard, but we the figures interacting with the maze changed how his work is usually experienced. In this case it becomes a social work of spatial-navigation as opposed to looking down on the work, being above it quite literally, and removed. In fact I was lucky enough to witness a poor soul trying to leave the gallery on the opening night, making his way back through Doralls maze to the exit, only to come up against a group of friends standing within it blocking his escape and because of a few opening night drinks, abusing their new found power as gatekeepers with cheeky requests for a password and claims that he'd have to go back the way he came when that clearly wasnt an option.
Another artist in the show, Ruth Fleishman, whose work ordinarily consists of the generation of digital environments but given the opportunity in this show, she constructed an installative work composed of mostly readymade, common, plastic objects. The commercially avialable objects allow her to have seemingly cloned objects in the work, existing in different places of the bright, coloured, little world but more importantly needing a barrier to keep the small ground based objects and their pecarious positions in relation to eachother safe and undisturbed from viewers potentially clumsy feet. This barrier is a real boundry between the punter and the work, the inticingly playful work looks back at the viewer, safe from being upset by the viewer whilst still inticing the viewer to interact because of its implied sense of fun, albeit static appearence.
Both works possess a sort of power over the viewer that the artists ordinary practice does not. They exude a certain type of control over, or at least, denial to the viewer. The works are b-side, they are a secondary preference for the artist, an unused strand of thought or materiality and it is somewhat aware of this as it desperatly bites back at the viewer, having nothing left to lose. In short: dont trust the b-side. It may be a failed form but in being so it inherits a certain amount of forcefulness, almost a kind of defence mechanism thats synonymous with novelty and difference, in order to protect itself from being forgotton.