= The Crawford Arts Review: Helen Marten at Sadie Coles

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Helen Marten at Sadie Coles

Art should inspire. This does. I'm not quite sure why or how. But go in and enjoy it.

This is Helen Marten’s first exhibition at Sadie Coles and I can only imagine her thrill at filling such a vast space and not being intimidated by it. For the space is awe-inspiring. Kingly Street houses the back premises of the grand shops of Regent Street eastside and bridges across to Regent Street itself where massive arched windows give you a spectacular view of the street outside.

The show’s title, ‘Oreo St James’, should give you some idea of its sculptural eclecticism. ‘Oreo’, of course, celebrates an American best-selling cookie and the whole title may celebrate the artist’s cat. For they are everywhere, permanently in suspended animation, seeming to walk backwards off a cliff. Those of us who know and celebrate cats may feel that the cat is merely balancing on its tail and exercising one of its nine lives.

Call it absurdist if you like, but I love the way the work inspires in the lighthearted way that makes you go home thinking you can emulate at least part of it in your own habitat with the help of some  plastic buckets, a led light, some copper wire and string. Well, that is the effect of art - to make you see seemingly ordinary things differently.

It is high concept, every bit of it declaring: I am art; I am permanent; look, I consist of sumptuous leather, ceramic, stained ash wood, copper wire and here and there a cigarette (homage to Sarah Lucas?), cherry stones, pebbles or bent aluminium. Where possible, I incorporate a cat. Helen Marten at her exuberant best.

Helen Marten
Sadie Coles
62 Kingly Street
London W1

Open Tue-Sat, 11-6
Finished Saturday 15 March

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