Escape from Studio Voltaire

22. 11. 2006 - 16. 12. 2006

vamiali’s gallery is pleased to present the first solo show in Athens of Mark Hutchinson titled “Escape from Studio Voltaire”. The project consists of two integral parts: an installation in the gallery and a booklet to be taken away.

“…The claustrophobic is […] an amateur escape artist. He needs in order to physically survive, to be ingenius about his exits and entrances…”
Adam Philips

Hutchinson presents drawings, diagrams and information showing how one might leave the gallery space of Studio Voltaire in South London, should leaving by the door through which one came in be inadequate. Multifarious plans, ranging from the simple and practical, (routes through neighbouring streets), to the elaborate and fanciful (escaping from the roof via hot air balloon).
According to his words “the installation is characterised by a kind of absence. It is an excessive and fanciful set of ideas as to how one might get out of Studio Voltaire: of how one might escape. The gallery space, are only present inasmuch as they are an obstacle to be transcended. Everything inside the gallery is directed towards everything outside of the gallery and the fact of the gallery qua boundary. Here there is plenty to look at but it is intended to direct attention, imaginatively, to everything except itself. This is a project that can only fail; an escape plan that is always doomed. However functional, mundane and descriptive the material of the installation is intended to be, it still presents a kind of sight. The desperate imaginings of means of escape confirm, through their pathos, the failure to escape”.

The booklet that accompanies the exhibition contains two main essays. One is an extract from a case history of a self- declared claustrophobic artist, from the work of 1970s New York based analyst Jennifer Bird. In the second essay Mark Hutchinson uses the symptoms of claustrophobia as the terms for an exploration in to difficulties faced by the critically and politically engaged artist. The artist, like the claustrophobic person, can feel constricted by the structures around them. For both it is the possibility of escape, over its actuality, that needs to be kept alive through a process of vigilance and imagination. Hutchinson’s recent works have set up relationships between elements of installation and text, intending not only to dramatise and affect the relationships between art, spectator and gallery, but also to implicate reading in the process of looking.

Mark Hutchinson lives and works in London.

Installation views

All works 2004, ink on paper, 64x90 cm and 72x102 cm