The laughable pretension of its title somewhat mitigated by the presence of a French artist, ‘Jeune 1’ presented three likely young talents represented by one work each. The French artist Serge Kliaving justified his increasingly modish reputation whole doing nothing to demonstrate talent. His piece, a series of panels juxtaposing art slogans, the details of violent incidents in Northern Ireland and various logos, failed to spark connections or stir outrage.
The genre is so familiar as to be respectable, but this work was sloppy, in thinking and execution. Thin ideas need at least competent presentation, and these canvasses were badly stretched and less than professionally worked. Those who lust after the confident surface of the New York political-conceptual axis, should learn that in order to subvert The Collector, your work has to be slickly made enough to hang on his wall.
Kliaving’s use of horrific events in Ireland seems shallow and ultimately obscene. In the context of the light-weight style, it is like any other entertainer tackling a serious theme, for example Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning.
By contrast, Michale Landy’s artificial grass sculpture, a series of peaksbuilt from this rather monstrous material, was both playful and rewarding, its casualness, its humbleness of intention and content, letting one look at it without pretensions to statement, rather as form in itself.
But the best reply to the pompous gesturing of Kliaving was the work of Jyll Bradley, rich in both surface grace and complex subtext. Two cibachrome boxes facing each other flanked by metal sheets adjacent on the floor, the work opposed blown-up snapshots of three girls at a party with sections of text by Proust. The text was concerned with the impossibility, yet necessity of making choices, especially aesthetic ones.
The idea of choosing, of selection, was echoed in the lit images,a s if these party photos had been chosen at random, their casualness, their apparent unsuitability for such grand display emphasizing the arbitrary processes of visual selection every artist and viewer undergoes. The blank metal sheets beside the lit-boxes suggested a further alternative, the final reponse to the burden of choice, the minimalist answer to endless questions of selection. A serious, intelligent piece of work, it was, both in text and format, formally beautiful, the sort of adjective whose threatened extinction Bradley’s piece ponders upon.