Art review: Quicksand John Armleder, The Dairy Art Centre, London

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
3.00

 

This week a new art centre opens in north London in the premises of a former dairy in Bloomsbury. Two collectors of contemporary art, Frank Cohen, a home-improvements' millionaire from Manchester, and Nicolai Frahm, a Dane based in London, have brought it into being. Free to enter and not-for-profit, it will operate as a kind of kunsthalle for shows of emerging and established artists.

It will not be a home for art exclusively – dance and music will play their part. The first show consists of work by John Armleder, a multi-media artist from Switzerland whose practice ranges across sculpture, painting, installation and film.

Armleder is more than a mere exhibitor here. He has also helped to make this space what it is. He has given it a free-ranging, informal, anti-institutional atmosphere. The makeover still smacks of raw industry, from the painted grey concrete floors to the neon strip lighting.

Click here or on "View Images" for a picture gallery

Unlike so many other public gallery spaces, it doesn't have pedagogical designs upon us. Armleder has had a hand in the making of the milk bar and the cafe, and in the design of the furniture. In shape, the building resembles a long slice of cheese with wedgy ends, all cut up into spaces for showing art. Spaces peel off unpredictably. The main gallery is long and tapering, hung with paintings and glitzy mirror balls. A room once used as the dairy's giant fridge leads off it. There Armleder has created an installation which consists of a medley of small-screen projections, an in-and-out surf of noise (Hawaian guitars vie with the low thrum of a bass), plexiglass screens on the drunken tilt, fake flowers mixed up with genuine dying lilies, and all overlooked by a stuffed fox in a scarf.

Armleder emerged out of the fluxus movement of the 1960s. The work throughout is wild, funky, eclectic, fluid. He seems to drift through his influences, making of them what he will, playing games with his forebears, poking fun. His wall designs look like popularisations of Op Art. His drip paintings emerge out of Abstract Expressionism, but they look more casual, more approachable, more sleek, glitzy and commercially glossy than the Abstract Expressionists ever strove to be. A heap of neon strip lights put us mind of the minimalists' use of industrial materials - but they would never have heaped them up like this as if wildly copulating.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border