The Shock of the Now Issue 23
Featured Exhibition Text
‘Peter Piper Pigged a Pickled Pepper' Group Exhibition
Fitzrovia Gallery
12th January 2022

Paraphrasing the well-known alliterative tongue-twister, ‘Peter Piper Pigged a Pickled Pepper’ presents a selection of uncanny artworks that appear as if from ever-so-slightly adjusted realities or somewhat distorted dimensions, each imbued with an ethereal unease or an endearing ‘offness’. Curator Jeanette Gunnarsson recently relocated to Scandinavia and has clearly spent ample time scouring Sweden for the best contemporary talent it has to offer, exhibited here alongside firm Shock of the Now favourite India Nielsen, all bathed in muted hues of viridescent or violet light.

Tove Dreiman‘s purple polyester persona casts a spindly skeletal shadow against the minty cloth curtain from which it emerges. Grounded in a practice of automated drawing, Dreiman translates each stream of consciousness scribble into soft sculptures and textile tablets that retain that improvisational, emotive essence of the original dynamic doodles. In an accompanying wall-based panel, a similar sylph-like silhouette nestles on a pillow of pastel pistachio. Elsewhere, Matti Sumari’s slag metal sculptural interventions occupy the oft-overlooked nooks and crannies of the Central London gallery space. Aluminium drink cans have been recycled and recast as peculiar pewter pickles that cling to protruding corners or form functionless handles for otherwise fictitious doors.

Heaped piles of messy bedding evoke childhood pillow forts or post-coital chaos in Jaana-Kristiina Alakoski’s digitally manipulated photography. Not dissimilar to scenes produced by Google’s infamous DeepDream programme - that invariably incorporated feline or canine likenesses into its computer-generated compositions - here striped sheets form some semblance of cats and kittens, duvet dinosaurs populated pillowed terrain and soiled bedsheets sprout the snouts or curled tails of playful piggies. In part influenced by the viral Name One Thing meme, an unsettling illusory image rumoured to replicate the optical symptoms of a stroke, Alakoski transports the viewer to the point of lucid, semi-self-aware dreaming, as if tucked up under the bedcovers depicted. Finally, in Nielsen’s newest paintings, alien encounters, translucent celestial slugs and snails, spectral sloganed spirits and a bold baroque butterfly whose wings beat I’m A Fucking Weapon are all set against romantic yet melancholic backdrops of rainbows, teardrops and cosmic constellations.