Art Review: Selective Memory - Artists in the Archive

4/5

Art Review: Selective Memory - Artists in the Archive

Selective Memory will appeal to people who enjoy labelling, and filing things in neat little boxes. This thought-provoking exhibition explores the archiving of artefacts and information. If that sounds dull, then rest assured that the concept expands into something greater, as it encourages us to contemplate the importance of memory — for factual or nostalgic purposes.

The curatorial concept is rigorously upheld, with paintings and photographs intermingling with the predilection for process-driven practice. This upholds the importance of the journey rather than the final destination, and presents us with a variety of ideas, images and objects to scrutinise.

Dutch artist Miek Zwamborn is the standout exponent of this method of working. Her use of specimen drawers to display natural objects and images chronicles her interactions with places and unidentified persons.

This approach is echoed in Alan Phelan’s installation, which explores, amongst other things, sexual innuendo: visual punning and the bizarre juxtaposition of objects do battle for attention in a sensory overload of ephemera and curiosities.

The physical presence of archival objects in the installations is mirrored in the digital-based artwork of Jasper Rigole.

A computer displaying a webpage is open to editing and the viewer can browse, and select, from 16,000 video clips to compose a personal narrative — evocative, perhaps, of the elusive concept of remote-viewing.

The video-based work, including Gavin Murphy’s beautifully austere film and Ruth Maclennan’s matter-of-fact, documentary-style interviews, brings real archivists out of the shadows. Contemporary art finds its heroes in the strangest of places.

Runs until March 15

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