14 September - 1 October 2011
Helvi Apted’s sculptural works map the course of creation and change. Between industry and biology, between finished and unfinished, Apted’s blind and static beings question the trajectory of creation. Static, yet seemingly produced with intention and artifice; Apted’s works ask uneasy questions of the generative forces in contemporary culture.
Helvi Apted’s sculpture lays slumped on a trolley, its extremities spilling onto the floor. Overstuffed, sagging and dumped; interconnected through process and materiality; it appears whole, but blind and wormlike. It is unclear if its components operate individually, or form some disjointed whole.
I am attracted to the evidence of the artist’s hand. Raw looking industrial materials are used to create something that could be either object or creature. They lead me to imagine the process by which these sculptures were made (or born), and I am reminded of Frankenstein’s monster — both invented and birthed, but somehow created for more than just companionship. Clearly, these sad intestine-like forms are generated by the inner workings of a human being.
I am reminded too of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, and in particular his search for a brain. Contemporary culture is obsessed with the constant search for knowledge and expects instant access to Wikipedia et al., but I wonder about the credibility of today’s information sources. Some information is checked, but most is not, due to the sprawling nature of the World Wide Web. Is the information we consume factual, or are we merely stuffing our heads with sawdust and straw?
Apted’s work may reflect on humanity’s search for knowledge, but if so it is unclear whether this quest is worthwhile; is it inevitable that we are bettering ourselves? Apted’s sculptures appear to be in transition, but it is impossible to tell whether they are being stuffed or unstuffed. Either way, they seem paralysed by their in-betweeness.
The sculptures are folded over an industrial transport trolley. It suggests the potential for movement but seems to fall short, as the installation is of a static nature. Perhaps this reflects the disenchantment one may feel when all knowledge is learned, all the answers are answered and the mystery is gone. The human drive for knowledge has lead to a dead end, a technology fueled dystopia.
Which brings me back to Frankenstein’s Monster. Almost human but brought to life by science, doomed to live stranded in a liminal state. It is in this state that Apted’s creatures are born, and will remain.
- Adele Mace, with Helvi Apted (Ed.), 2011