ColinHumphrey:, culture, exhibition, london, gagosian, britannia street, mixed, collection, assemblage, crash, 2010ColinHumphrey:, culture, exhibition, london, gagosian, britannia street, mixed, collection, assemblage, crash, 2010


Feb 11 – Apr 1 2010, London, United Kingdom, Europe. 6-24 Britannia St, London WC1X 9JD

Diverse Taxonomy

As an exhibition CRASH connects the viewer to concepts, images, objects and texts of a visceral nature. A topos where eros meets the might of the industrial complex and optical pleasure merges with depicted pain.

J G Ballard

Simply put, the world gave us the author J G Ballard and the Gagosian gives us the exhibition ‘Crash’ (Feb 11 – Apr 1 2010). Crash is an exhibition on a life size and larger than life scale collectively incorporating the macabre, erotic and popular culture into a setting where surrealism, photography, film, found objects and installation all share the same space. The lineup is itself strong featuring work by: RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER, TACITA DEAN, PAUL McCARTHY, EDUARDO PAOLOZZI, MIKE NELSON, PAUL DELVAUX, GIORGIO DE CHIRICO, CHRIS BURDEN, FLORIAN MAIER-AICHEN, JEFF KOONS and a good few more.

Collective Homogeneity

At times the show – if it could be described acoustically – felt like many voices in a crowd each with something interesting and significant to say although cumulatively drowning each other out on a collective wavelength. People interacting with art for the first time might feel a bit overwhelmed? However doubtless to say they would be conversely compensated with a strong sensorial reception. For many who know their Koons’, from their Hirsts; their Chiricos from their Delvaux and their Basquiats from their Lichtensteins would affirm that what the exhibition may have lacked in depth it surely compensated with novelty. Where else can you see a Boeing 747 undercarriage wheel adjacent to the stripped down carcass of a retro automobile overlooked by some Lichtenstien POP art?

Obverse treatments?

There is an interesting avenue left unexplored or possibly intentionally over looked. If we remove the obvious semantics of what a crash is as a thing in itself, if we strip it of its axiomatic signification, its referent a-priori, one can also refer to it (the crash) in the abstract. An exploration of the crash via the economy or of social morals and of traditional regimes and communications would have afforded a greater depth and leant some stimulus to such an impact based show. A crash in itself implies an object moving at great speed of terminal or fluctuating velocity under its own inertia or powered by an internal or external apparatus… suddenly without warning it impacts with something else. But theoretically or curatorially the crash can explore much more.


As an afterthought the title although attention grabbing and not insignificant did not fully capture the extents of the exhibition which encapsulated a lot more than just “the crash”, as if there was a miscommunication between salient title and the diverse work. An overall feeling of the show is one of shock, muteness and sobriety, indeed seeing someone’s decimated head and body can do that to you. Overall the show was a crashing success.

Rounded up

An exhibition combining Pop Art, Surrealism, Found Objects, Installation, where one’s desires meet with the harsh reality of the crash.–crash

written by: Colin Humphrey

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