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Take Five: Sally Gorham

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 17.28.51
Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 17.28.51

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Published date
26 May 2017

With Show One: Art open and in full swing, we talk to exhibiting art students about their work and the inspirations behind it.

Characterised by a sense of playfulness Sally Gorham’s final BA Fine Art piece borrows from the geometric visual vocabulary of Constructivism and the reductive aspects of Minimalism. The magnetic geometric shapes which make up Viral can be seen all across the College, over the walls and up the staircases. Viewers are invited to reconfigure the different shapes and patterns as they wish. In this collaboration, or perhaps friction between artist and viewer, Gorham questions the authorship and sovereign control of the artist and, by implication, that of managers and politicians.

Here, she shares some of the important influences on her work:

  1. I visited the Tretyakov Gallery of Modern Art in Moscow a few years ago, before the Gallery’s recent loans for exhibitions in the West. It was amazing to see work by Tatlin, Malevich and fellow Constructivist artists. The reconstruction of Rodchenko’s design for a Workers’ Club seemed the epitome of the idea that art could have a social purpose.
  2. Peter Halley’s recent show at Modern Art in London, where he appropriates geometric visual language to make an ironic commentary on the way in which we are increasingly living in a geometrically divided social space, and his essays, were a big influence. I realised that I could use my love of the geometric in a similarly ironic way.
  3. While the only Daniel Buren work I have seen outside publications is at Tottenham Court Road tube station, he has probably been the biggest influence on my work. Viral, like Buren’s work, was made ‘in situ’. Buren proposes that “we must put the museum back in its place” and that public space outside the museum “is a privileged space for research and actions and when possible realization”. I agree.
  4. Earlier this year I attended a talk by Rana Begum. She described how the challenge of working within a set of rules and constraints pushed her to try out new ideas. She showed a work she had made using lego bricks. I thought “if she can use lego bricks, I can carry on making work with magnets”, and pushed myself to scale up my work.
  5. My inspiration doesn’t just come from art. My husband and I are great fans of minimalist music. I started to think about Steve Reich’s use of repetition and small incremental change in the structure of his compositions when we attended the concerts at the Barbican celebrating his 80th birthday.

Degree Show One: Art is on show to the public at Central Saint Martins, 24-28 May with Degree Show Two: Design following 20-24 June.

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