Spinningfields Manchester (UK) is a fairly compact mini-metropolis of commerce; all shiny glass, tweaked Modernist blocks, ground floor chain restaurants and bars, a ‘business, retail and residential development’. The kind of thing that arouses people in suits.
Bureau gallery has been based at 3 Hardman Square, right in the belly of the beast, for a number of years, using the extremely large foyer space for exhibitions and art events.
Currently fighting for attention in the corporate emptiness that signals cash and success is Noel Clueit’s two-part installation ‘Towards Monumental Sculpture’ and it’s nice to report that in a straight fight Clueit has managed to win.
The exhibition has two discrete parts: a large billboard sized wooden framework displaying two close-ups of areas of, according to Clueit, Henry Moore sculptures; the other end of the foyer has two touching DVD playback screens showing the same synchronized hand movements of someone copying instructive hand gestures on the pad of an apple mac.
The organic curves of the fingers echo the smooth arches of the images of Moore’s works. The very same black and white images whose definition has decayed, on being blown up to such a degree, leaving the surfaces seemingly constructed from repeated stabs of black paint on a bristly painting brush.
The title, ‘Towards Monumental Sculpture’, may itself potentially imply a diagnostic cynicism about a flimsy monumentality which has long since been usurped by a different conception of space and scale; even the near infinite space of the techno-sublime has itself been thoroughly colonized by corporate branding which bleeds back into domestic space.
Clueit isn’t however interested in cocking a snook at civic and private statuary.
The ethical necessity of ‘Public Sculpture’ is predicated on the assumption that unyielding static blocks somehow incarnate the immovable and unchanging correctness of political and social institutions founding principles.
However, Clueit is less concerned with sculptures solidity, its concrete physicality, than he is with its aping of the architecture of gesture. The successful imposition of the ephemeral on sculptures ungiving surface is what truly allows ‘sculptures’ experienced to resonate in the mind. It’s this knowledge that allows the installation to head towards its own presentation of monumentality with an apologetic grin.
Clueit has actually managed to have his cake and eat it.
Not unlike Credit Suisse who own the building.