Jefford Horrigan ~ 29 april - 29 may 2005
studio 1.1
london e2

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A simultaneity obtains in Jefford Horrigan’s practice (‘painting’, ‘sculpture’ and ‘performance’ – the terms are not loose but distinctly questionable) – each activity, each thought process in parallel. And at its core there’s a perversity that neatly doubles back on itself. (The very stuff these drains and hoppers are made of would certainly block their function, consuming themselves).

They derive from architecture or street furniture yet are resolutely described as paintings. Which of course to be literal they are. Entirely made of paint. The colours are as thick as their means of manufacture - flooring felt, felt further by the eye; bright but heavy. Saturated (the language of colour and materiality combines). An attempt at flesh that is meant to convince no-one: doll-flesh or boiled spinach, strange prosthetic colours, standing in for something. But nothing we need to know.

The very presence of these drains, slicing into secondhand tables, defies us (it is the point after all) to come to some accommodation with the quasi-domesticated violence they inflict on the space around them. They slice, they fill. Each’s function buttresses the other’s. At once sharing and eliding. The tables hold (up) the bright, rough and rude constructions, brace themselves on elegant but spindly, slightly spreading legs conveying the saggy weight.

The grubby realism of the Camden Road Group is here somewhere, fused with the fantastical; Horrigan’s stated points of reference are four slightly off-centre films each incorporating a notion of descent (Orphee; The Third Man; Fitzcarraldo; Performance). On a quite different tack we could add a fifth: ‘The Fly’ – a collision of disparate elements that in the film’s moral trajectory destroys its subject. Descending into unviability. But here everything stays purely, perversely what it is; an unsettling mutuality of fact.

There are associations of course, art historical and otherwise that we might conjure up (the composite cardboard protection within which a flat-pack Caro, dis-assembled, might travel). And they clearly reference something in the ‘real world’, but it is their succinct and disquieting presence that is their strength, that keeps them from sagging too much under the burden of our speculations. Their ‘mere’ existence sustains them. You can think of some premature minimalism, a Smith or Judd hospitalized. (Resolving importunate questions about them is both tempting and decidedly not the point).

In this gallery, in this no-man’s land, they are a purgatorial (or purgative) channel between ‘above’ and ‘below’ – the above of ideal forms and the below of earth or hell, but they flatter neither and prioritise none.

They hold their own.

Studio 1.1