‘Gullet at Cell Project Space’
Published by Saatchi Art & Music Magazine
A review of Julia Crabtree and William Evan’s duo-exhibition, Gullet, at Cell Project Space, London (17 November 2017 — 21 January 2018), published in the 2018 spring and tenth anniversary edition of Saatchi Art & Music Magazine.
The review focused on the exhibition’s themes of mutual affectivity between human and non-human actors, collective ecologies and embodiment. The exhibition was accompanied by ‘U’, a performance by artist Rachel Pimm and her father inspired by the properties and prevalence of Uranium in the universe.
Printed in London, 2018
“Augmenting their 2016 show ‘Gulch’—commissioned by The Banff Centre, Canada—the architecture of Cell Space has similarly been inverted by the inclusion of an abstract, multi-coloured carpet. Taking
its aesthetic from digitally rendered smoke, the flat surface evokes the inhuman perception of heat-sensitive surveillance technologies and satellite maps, used as a visual indicator of life or organic activity (as has been brutally displayed in the state-military apparatus of Richard Mosse’s prescient work Incoming). Angled and crammed toward one of two hollow door frames—taking as their implicit form as Gullet’s pharynx and anus—this macro-vital cartography hosts an array of microbial forms.
The largest of these amoebic bodies are a series of lumpen furnishings mounting each other as they pile through the Gullet’s narrow oesophagus. Reminiscent of the uncanny mattresses shown in Kaari Upson’s latest exhibition at the New Museum, Good thing you are not alone (2017), the nauseating blend of moss green, warm beige and mauve gives the swollen forms a distinct sense of half-chewed, half-digested food matter. Hidden on the other side are a loose swarm of parasitic worms, each cast in a pastel jesmonite, twisting and convulsing around one another in an orgy of ravenous anticipation.
The lucky few of these intestinal feeders that have slithered their way into the main space of the gallery find themselves drawn to presence of several clairvoyant glass blobs. Dispersed in the space, drooping from Cell’s natural architecture or bosomed by soft rolls of bare memory foam, several of these molten orbs have been left empty whilst others harbour a multitude of green algae. The morphological bodies of these post-terrarium chambers appear similar to the fluid undulations of braincell mitochondria, which through a process of self-deformation stretch and connect our various neural pathways—a network of neuroanatomy itself named the vermis, from the etymological root ‘vermi’—the worm.
Accompanying the exhibition is a performance by Rachel Pimm, an artist familiar with said vermicular genealogies (see her 2015 performance at the Chisenhale Gallery, Worming out of shit). Focusing on the active materiality of Uranium or ‘U’, a spoken word piece follows as the red eye of a Geigercounter traces over the audience’s bodies and Gullet’s strange glass amoebas. In each case the erratic ticks of the counter intensify: the glass has been fired in an old technique containing U, historically used for tinted colouring and ultraviolet illumination.”