Art & Photography

IBID Projects

William Kherbek reviews an ambitiously diverse multi-artist exhibition at IBID Projects, Hoxton Square

Rallou Panagiotou, The National, 2012 courtesy of IBID Projects

It’s easy to overlook IBID Projects’ space in Hoxton Square, given that it’s situated between several high profile neighbouring galleries.

While it may not have the instant name recognition of The White Cube, IBID has hosted a number of shows over the last year that rival and frequently surpass the creativity of some the exhibitions that have shown at Hoxton’s finest.

With its current show, spanning three floors and a backroom and involving more than a dozen artists, IBID Projects is asserting the kind of ambition that should impress even the biggest of the big kids.
With ambition, however, come discontents. In a show of this size, diversity and complexity, there are always going to be works which outshine other works. Of the pieces in the ground floor space, the oddly demure sculpture by Rallou Panagioutou demanded the most attention.

The piece, titled, The National composed of marble and leatherette, among other constituents, and mounted to the wall using steel brackets, faded in and out of dialogue with itself. Sometimes the materials were as literal material as possible, other times they seemed to acquire strange, almost animistic qualities. It was nicely destabilizing and, I was to learn, good preparation for what was to come.

“With its current show, spanning three floors and a backroom and involving more than a dozen artists, IBID Projects is asserting the kind of ambition that should impress even the biggest of the big kids”

Panagiotu also had a nice piece on the first floor of the gallery, a series of digital print photographs set out on marble at the centre of the room with several steel arches casting shadows over them, but, for me, the show finally reached its full potential with the piece in IBID’s second floor gallery. The room houses a piece titled People on Sunday conceived by Olivier Castel, Katie Guggenheim, and Justin Jaeckle, which brings together fifteen artists including big names like Simon Fujiwara—superdude of Frieze 2010—and Donald Urquhart, as well as a mid-sized constellation of emerging names.

The work is simple enough in conception, the artists all produce text pieces describing events that have either happened or could possibly happen.These texts are placed at

intervals along a set of bleachers that reach to the ceiling. There’s a beautiful unwieldiness to the bleachers; you can’t sit in the top row if you’re more than a foot tall, which means, on a busy day, you’d have to lie down. Better still, the bleachers are facing the gallery’s west window which gives on the advanced late-capitalist tragicomedy that is Hoxton Square in all its fervid turpitudes.

The text pieces are varied, and, again, some work better than others, but staring out the window on the tramps fresh from Beckett, the stage lights straight from a piece by Jutta Koethe, and the young corporate folk-heroes in full business battle dress while I was reading Chuck Kissick’s brief passage, quoted below in full, reality deliquesced:

”Everyone that lives and works in the area follows a trail of treats—bourbon biscuits, marmite buns and salt caramels from the Albion (pub)—into Hoxton Square, where they are herded into a 100-foot-tall wicker statue of Lana Del Ray drinking a can of Coke. When Night falls they are all burnt. The only exceptions are the delicious looking people, who are BBQ’ed over the fire pits in the basement of Red Dog Saloon, and beautiful girl models who are only in Old Street for castings; they are dressed up as princesses and worshipped. When Lana is really on fire a lot, the girl princesses have to walk into the flames and fall asleep. The next morning the will emerge, unscathed, and start a new East London.”

Horrifying. When do we get started?

Until 12 August IBID Projects 35 Hoxton Square