- Newcastle University Fine Art
- North East England
In the corner of the building, atop an old wooden staircase, a narrow corridor opened into a space simultaneously suggestive of a domestic living area (varnished floor-boards, the stone remains of a hearth) and of an institution (redundant florescent tube lighting, exposed waste pipes).
The weighty, rumbling drone of some nearby, forgotten utility penetrated and permeated the room, creating the sense that the work within continued beyond the immediate: a rich, sticky sweetness that hung heavy in the air of the darkened interior containing the graduating MFA exhibition of j.p.g.g.p.
The source of the smell was Pyloric Luminescene, a slowly melting pile of blancmange-shaped toffee rings. Placed upon a low gold plinth, they oozed sticky fluid throughout the two-week exhibition, eventually succumbing to gravity and collapsing, formless, onto the floor, in a pool of their own liquid.
The central work, The Golden Antechamber 5, was a tall, black, hexagonal box-like structure, somewhere between a wardrobe and a monolith. Walking around it, one found a door, left ajar, revealing an interior of golden-hued mirrors, endlessly reflecting a slim block of glistening toffee, melting slowly down a cheap, gold tinsel curtain.
The entity that exists as its antithesis is a reoccurring theme in the work of j.p.g.g.p. Logic dictates that the exhibition space is above ground, but the oppressive feeling of an underground cavern is inescapable. The Antechamber is phallic, yet conversely womb-like in its ability to act as a container. Tinsel and glitter meet darkness in a claustrophobic location enclosing infinitely reflecting mirrors.
These works occupy an in-between space, a dwelling not easily defined but explored by the artist in the guise of a detective: donning an external persona, coat collars turned up, j.p.g.g.p. investigates these seductive-repulsive materials and the seedy undercurrent below their veneer of sweetness. This is art as film noir faerietale: disturbing, discomfitting and seductively enticing.