Kingly Things: Coco Crampton and Agata Madejska

27 June – 25 July 2015
Curated by Gareth Bell-Jones

Chandelier Projects is pleased to present an exhibition of newly commissioned work by British artist Coco Crampton and Polish artist Agata Madejska. The exhibition, curated by independent curator Gareth Bell-Jones, contains new lighting structure works by Crampton and sculptural and photographic work by Madejska.

Kingly Things articulates how the meanings of objects can be dissolved and re-imagined. The title is a term coined by social anthropologist Max Gluckman to define those objects which perform a symbolic inventory of a society: public lands, monuments, the paraphernalia of power and ritual objects. Over the course of their existence objects move in and out of the commodity state over the duration of their use-life. ‘Kingly Things’ are objects diverted from use as commodities to protect whatever value or symbolic power the object may transfer. Whereas Madejska sees objects as a space for the projection of ideas, Crampton sees them as crystalisations of values. However, through the use of different media, both artists consider objects as flexible carriers of cultural meaning, as abstractions of realities and events.

Coco Crampton’s work is concerned with how ideological or social meaning can be transmitted through an aesthetic language. For Kingly Things Crampton has produced three new commissions, which collectively form English Echoes, a series of suspended sculptures based on specific examples of lighting design and a digital print on paper. Panting For Europe is a re-interpretation of one of the Lighting Satellites produced in 1983/4 for Peter Stringfellow's nightclub The Hippodrome. The Truth About Cottages are re-interpretations of Quentin Bell's thrown ceramic lampshade made in 1950 for the dining room at Charleston House, Sussex. Homegrown Fir uses ceramic discs to hold a digital reproduction of a woodblock. The objects are not accurate or studied replicas of their models, a purposely a-historical approach; Crampton instead takes found images and texts as a point of departure. Together they parody the English radical romantic stance that a utopic future will look like the past, but be just a little bit different.

Agata Madejska’s work refers to the symbolic structures of public space as mirrors for contemporary society. Memorial A-Z is a seven-meter long photographic wall installation made of a series of photographic panels. It is a scale photographic re-construction of a war memorial in Royal Tunbridge Wells. In a new commission for Kingly Things, Madejska has produced the table installation Factum, whereby photographs of the reliefs on the sarcophagi of the Soviet War Memorial constructed in 1949 for Berlin’s Treptower Park are presented as clear acrylic table surfaces. The original reliefs were produced twice, accompanied by German and Russian texts. With photographic reproductions of both iterations, the slight differences between the two versions are overlaid in green and red. Crystal Display subtly reproduces the Battersea Park fountain. The fountain was originally developed for the 1951 Festival of Britain pleasure gardens as a central attraction to an outdoor exhibition of sculpture. Despite the gardens’ years of decline, the large fountain has continued to spring into action about once an hour regardless of whether anyone is watching. In contrast to other works in Kingly Things, the new commission For Now (Folly) directly responds to the gallery architecture. The plaster tube is coated in photochromic pigment, changing colour depending on the lighting conditions of the space or the shadow cast by a viewer. For Now (Folly) figuratively embodies the changing associations and meanings that inhabit all objects of symbolic value.

About the artists

Coco Crampton (b.1983) is a London based artist. Crampton was born in London and graduated from Norwich School of Art in 2005 and from The Royal Academy Schools in 2014. She served on Outpost gallery’s steering committee in Norwich from 2007. In 2014 she received the Patricia Turner Prize and was awarded a Print Fellowship at The RA Schools. Recent solo and two person exhibitions include: Handles on Romance & Other Girls also Common Tongue, at The Minories Galleries, Colchester and Protected Space with Jonathan Baldock at Belmacz Gallery, London. Other exhibitions include Cassius Clay at Marcelle Joseph Projects; Fourth Drawer Down, Nottingham Contemporary; A Thing is a Thing is a Thing, The Minories Galleries; Slipped, Wysing, Cambridge; Bonne Bouche, The Cut, Halesworth; and Swing, Outpost, Norwich.

Agata Madejska (b.1979) is a London based artist. Madejska was born in Warsaw and graduated from Folkwang University of Arts, Essen, Germany in 2007 and in 2010 from Royal College of Art in London. In 2008 she was awarded the renowned Contemporary German Photography grant by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen-Halbach Foundation and in 2011 the Emerging Artist Award of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Recent exhibitions include Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern; Form, Norm, Folly at the Krefelder Kunstverein; Twisted Entities at Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen; Man and his Objects, Museum Folkwang, Essen; Sunah Choi & Agata Madejska, Kunstverein Friedrichshafen; Made in Germany Zwei, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover; Menos tiempo que lugar, Palacio National de las Artes, Buenos Aires; reGeneration2, Musée de l'Elysée; Lausanne and Aperture, New York; and New Contemporaries at the ICA, London.

Kingly Things was supported through public funding from Arts Council England.