Leon Chew / Andrew Curtis
Leon Chew and Andrew Curtis
post industrial aesthetics
Dark Matter Studio
October 2013, Private View 8th October 6 – 9pm
Chew and Curtis’ ongoing post industrial aesthetics project enters territories of architecture and the constructed image.
radieuse cité takes the form of several large scale photographs on canvas. These photographs, taken by Chew according to a set of written instructions by Curtis are formally composed and near-abstract in content. They depict the rough cast (béton brut) concrete of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation, one the worlds most photographed and celebrated examples of post-war modernist architecture. These photographs, originally exposed onto medium format negative film, have been digitally re-composed through a process of repetition and overlay to create a series of large scale canvas works mounted onto custom made stretchers.
radieuse cité expands on ideas which began with an earlier series of work, Post Industrial Colour.
For five consecutive nights Chew and Curtis followed a predetermined construct of shooting a composed image of discarded objects found on their separate routes to the roof of their studio; materials re-activated as sculpture for photography at the point in which they were due to expire.
The images were shot in monochrome, the language of the technical image to suggest a factual record of the compositions, an outmoded photographic process echoing the outmoded materials that the images were made from.
To complete the cycle and return the images to the status of object Chew and Curtis poured layers of discarded printing ink over and across across them. In using waste ink, a material beyond its functional use, they intend to activate a tension between the content of the image and its surface.
Each of the six ‘Post Industrial Colour’ photographic objects is an edition of five so there is no possibility of each appearing the same despite the attempt to replicate the poured composition of each.
Also presented are a series of provisional rough cast concrete sculptures. These are made using the same casting techniques employed by Le Corbusier for Unité d’habitation and more widely in the construction of corporate architecture and social housing in post war England. The social failure of this man-made landscape has been replaced by a detached contemporary use of concrete. This aesthetic quotation, isolated from the harsh reality that accelerated the decay of modern architecture, a dissonant post industrial aesthetics.