Helen Marten: Third Moment Profile | The Almost Horse




The exhibition’s own folly is classical: the attempt to depict a horse. This exertion unfolds in three ways: a monumental photographic wallpaper, an architectural scaffold, a fictional tale. In each instance, a reckless inaccessibility deliberately foils any practical realisation of the subject at hand. The horse is not realised in language, not realised in form, not realised in image. Instead, the threat of linear time is suspended, confused, or even violated because the idea “horse”, almost arbitrary, is resistant to conventional capture and closure.

On large wallpaper, a photographic image of a white horse stands, occupying what looks to be the Davies Street gallery. The image is upside down, the horse hanging static and luminous. The horse is a real horse, documented inside the gallery space several months prior, but the image space it stands in is a mutant, a new construction of CGI treachery, skewed and altered to produce the perspectival artifice of an additional spatial dimension. Looking from outside through the gallery’s large glass window, the inverted planes where the walls and floors meet produce the effect of a new elongation, artificially suggesting the illusion of a much wider additional room. There is no obvious functional appropriateness to this gesture other than reinforcing the condition of distrust in an image’s initially yielded message. The horse itself is a problem of gesture and analogy, surrounded by motifs of soundless instability: a planet Earth balloon, soap bubbles, dust and fauna debris. Imagining the horse as both a contemporary cypher and ancient mythological signifier, there are no surprises then that the etymological root of image is linked to imitation: imaginative meaning accumulates.

Twenty-six paintings of identical scale are hung in an equally spaced circuit around the periphery of the gallery.

Duration 14 October 2022 - 29 October 2022
Times Tues - Sat 11am - 6pm
Cost Free
Venue Sadie Coles (Davies Street)
Address 1 Davies Street, London, W1K 3DB
Contact 020 7493 8611 / info@sadiecoles.com / www.sadiecoles.com

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