Monday, 15 June 2009

REVIEW: Andrew Lim 'First Step', Chinese Arts Centre

Published: MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, CityLife, 15th June 2009
"Function is made Aesthetic in Andrew Lim's 'First Step' Installation"
SITTING on a shelf above you as you descend the toilet stairs of the Chinese Arts Centre, Andrew Lim’s ‘First Step’ is conspicuous. ‘First Step’ does not shout ‘installation art’.

It waits, merging into and becoming part of its environment, until you realize the everyday objects you are looking at are not at all in their usual setting, or fulfilling their usual function.

This is, somewhat surprisingly, precisely the point and aim of the work. Using objects that are linked to the construction and maintenance of the site, Lim creates art that connects and communicates with its habitat.  

Using a set of rules devised for each installation out of which the artwork grows to its logical conclusion, Lim’s work is literally produced by the space it fills.  

Self-determined structure  

The result is unknown till construction, when the limitations of the location and the nature of the materials join to produce a self-determined structure.  

In ‘First Step’, Manchester based Lim choose his materials based upon the technical aspects of changing over exhibitions; the storage, re-decorating, hanging and assembling of work.  
As such, First Step is an artwork made up of objects formerly used to put together and arrange other artworks.  Function is made aesthetic.  

The artwork itself, made up of ladders and headphones, is simple and effective. Silver ladders curve around the space, spine like. Their rigid and straight lines joined to make a soft, organic form incongruous with their individual appearance.  

Noise of construction  

Headphones hang from the ladders, evoking the noise of construction, and the previous artworks they made audible.

‘First Step’ comments of the side of art exhibitions we as viewers don’t get to witness and does so with subtle eloquence.  

It is a shame it is not placed somewhere that might draw more attention. For it’s staircase location, along with its discreet appearance, means it could be easily missed if you’re not on the look out.

Until September 9.  

Chinese Arts Centre,  Market Buildings, Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1EU (0161 832 7271)Mon-Sat 10am – 5pm and Sun 11am-4pm

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