'Pulp Fiction', installation view
Scott Gardiner, Thresholds, 2018, acrylic and collage on paper, 48.5 x 38 cm
Mark Hislop, It is to the air that I dedicate myself, 2018, graphite on paper, 12 drawings, each 26.0 x 16.7 cm
L: Genevieve Felix Reynolds, R: Chris Dolman
4 April – 29 April 2018
Stemming from the Latin frangere – meaning to break – the word fragment already has the idea of splintering embedded within it. Its cousins are fracture and fragile, and you can think of fragments as scraps, particles, chips or spalls, but also as snippets of conversation, cropped images or snatched glimpses. You can use fragment as a verb –causing something to tear or shatter into pieces.
Pulp Fiction presents the work of Chris Dolman, Scott Gardiner, Mark Hislop, Mason Kimber and Genevieve Felix Reynolds, and each of these artists is dealing in the fragment: in the remnant and the partial view.
In Chris Dolman’s work a half-obscured face peers around a wall with its double inversed on the other side, and in Scott Gardiner’s Thresholds (2018) coloured shards are overlaid and stacked on top of one another. Mason Kimber’s pastel splashes are loosely arranged into abstract forms, whilst Genevieve Felix Reynolds builds her work out of collages of old artworks and collected imagery. Reynolds will print, cut, and arrange her compositions, photographing these and re-editing them before translating the final image to paper.
Mark Hislop’s It is to the air I dedicate myself (2018) performs a kind of zooming in on a historical artifact, directly referencing a grainy photograph from 1919 that depicts the death of French pilot Raymonde de Laroche in a flying accident. The first woman to be awarded a pilot’s license, de Laroche was instrumental in the development of early aircraft, and reveled in her Romantic and sensual relationship with flight.
But as much as fragmentation is about breaking or cutting, there’s also an act of assemblage going on here. In the Japanese art of Kintsugi, shattered objects are repaired with a combination of ‘urushi’ glue and silver or gold dust, creating new sculptural pieces that overtly display their metallic wounds.1 Similarly in Pulp Fiction, these artists might be carefully collating fragments into single works, but they are also allowing their stitches to remain visible.
In Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch, the character of Theo Decker talks of a ‘middle zone’: ‘a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur.’2 The artists in Pulp Fiction are occupying this kind of middle zone, not only in the way they nestle into gaps and cracks and joins, but also in their choice of material – there’s the fragility of gouache and acrylic, the liquid slash across the paper.
They are all, as Gardiner’s series title suggests, hovering on or around a threshold or edge. It’s an edge that may ‘suggest keenness and…sharpness’ – ‘It can wound’, writes Ali Smith – but just as the fragment is both an off-cut and a rediscovered treasure, it’s an edge that has magic in it too: ‘the kind of forbidden magic on the border of things.’3
Guy Keulemans, ‘Kintsugi and the art of ceramic maintenance’, The Conversation
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (London: Abacus, 2014), p. 863
Ali Smith, Artful (United Kingdom: Penguin, 2012), pp. 126-7