© Rob Voerman

Rob Voerman: Bad Habits, 2004

the beginning of the world

David Hemmings
, Milika Muritu, Dylan Shipton, Rob Voerman, Gavin Wade

Cell Project Space launch their new site in Bethnal Green with site specific works and installation. This exhibition is a continuation of Cell's investigations into diverse curatorial intervention.

"We wanted to create theoretical structures that were avant-garde (new programs with light, mobile and dismountable structures…) and at the same time sustain social interaction". By the mid 70s, the high rise tower blocks of the previous decade were generally perceived to have failed in fulfilling their earlier expectations, and planners were now mooting the idea of low rise cluster developments, which would provide village-like units that would promote a better sense of community. Some of the ideas central to this exhibition will encompass some of the sentiments of 70s idealism, but will also project the reality of human intervention.

In "the beginning of the world" there is congestion and dislocation of cities, a monotonous suburban sprawl and a bleakness of high rise housing developments. This exhibition plays with a varied spectrum of possible architectural and social shapes, but the concrete results of the design depends upon theinhabitants and their needs. Whether responsible for or assimilated to this dispirited progress, radical modernism has certainly lost its way.

This ambitious project forms a collaborative spirit amongst each of the artists and the audience itself. It will address social interventionism, by creating, furniture, décor, proposals, dwellings and event. Within this experiment, ideas are taken from a dystopian perspective to create familiar models of social behaviour. In order for the viewer to become engaged, there will be a need for them to participate. Whilst entering the gallery the visitor is thrust into the midst of a fictional habitat created by Rob Voerman's carefully constructed make shift structure to form a tunnel which leads into a secret shack. The dwelling will house a bar, serving liquor. The audience through a steamy scratched window from the gallery itself will view this activity. Social revolution will be enhanced by the subversive nature of the dwelling and its inhabitants.

Dave Hemmings' proposal; a model of primeval man. His work is part of a realist sculpture series, documenting timeless primitive shelters, which are still used in today's third world. His work addresses "survivalism" at its roots and at its most economic and primary form. Milika Muritu's contribution will be Modernist décor thwarted by an attempt to replicate a burnt out tree trunk. It will also form a seating area to contemplate and Hemming's model, Romantic contemplation about the inevitable irreversibility of human aspiration.

Dylan Shipton creates room-scale installations, using a combination of industrial duct tape. They form labyrinths and barriers within a space. His construction techniques are an attempt to redirect or highlight the gaps between architectural space. They also replicate a make shift bricolage of material which is evident in Voerman's work.

Gavin Wade intervenes by offering an aspirational reproposition of an ideal starting point for a new social setting. Behind a glass screen set slightly outside of the new gallery space sits the orginal architectural model for the notorious Robin Hood Gardens, Tower Hamlets, London, 1964-70 by Alison & Peter Smithson. The screen itself is an adaptation of an unrealised project by Dan Graham, "Square Room Diagonally Divided", 1978. The two existing precedents are combined and misused in relation to following through the impulse of the exhibition title.

Rob Voerman is a guest artist from The Netherlands and is kindly supported by Fonds BKB. He was a 3 month artist in residence at Delphina Project Space in 2002 and has a solo exhibition in UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Cell Project Space refurbishments have been supported by The Arts Council Of England and Latham & Watkins. Cell would like to thank Christopher Woodward for his generous loan of the "Smithson's Model".

Curated by Milika Muritu

Exhibition: 24 July - 22 August 2004

Cell Project Space
258 Cambridge Heath Road
GB-London E2 9DA
Telephone/Fax +44 020 7241 3600
Email info@cell.org.uk