With Richard Ingleby
Saturday 29 March 1997
Material Culture, which opens at the Hayward Gallery on Thursday, is the latest outing for some of the currently fashionable young British artists who seem to be so much in the news. Furthermore, and this is where it may turn out to be interesting, it is also a chance to see their work in the context of some of their immediate predecessors.
The theme of the show, according to the organisers, is "the presence of the object in British art of the 1980s and 1990s". Sculpture, in other words, or at least things in three dimensions. Some of these objects have been created by the artists, others were simply found and packaged as art, but all are presented in a way that they hope will "encourage fresh connections between works".
I'm not sure about this. Sculpture has been a particular strength of the British art scene for some years, but the links from one artist to the next are few and far between. Material Culture aims to trace a path from Ian Hamilton Finlay through some of "The New British Sculptors" such as Tony Cragg and Bill Woodrow, through Anish Kapoor, Anthony Gormley and Rachel Whiteread, to the likes of Gavin Turk, Angela Bulloch and Abigail Lane. These last are the much-hyped young stars of the present scene.
It's an ambitious idea and a good excuse to assemble an interesting mix of recent British sculpture, but the lack of a shared aesthetic seems more obvious than any coherent connections. Some of the artists might disagree - you can ask them for yourselves between 12 noon and 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays when they will tour the exhibition as question- answering "live guides".
EYE ON THE NEW Paintings by Patrick Caulfield, a senior figure of the British art world, were unveiled this week at the Waddington Galleries in Cork Street. They are bigger and a little sweeter than some of his work of recent years. 11 Cork Street, London W1 (0171-437 8611) to 26 April
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