Spanish street artist Borondo has become a well know feature on London’s streets over the past few years with his work popping up at regular intervals.
Often grand in scale and deeply impressive, his thick brush strokes have entranced street art fans across the East End and his work can still be seen in many places, not least on shop front windows in Shoreditch and on the walls and narrowboats of Hackney Wick.
With ‘Animal’ at the London Newcastle gallery on Redchurch Street, the artist has taken another step to enhance his growing reputation with an immersive and impressive solo show that was meant to impress.
Eagerly anticipated it has already received rave reviews with the likes of the ‘I Know What I Like‘ arts facilitation group describing it as “a massive effort of great artistic and conceptual merit”. They are not wrong and the show does indeed do it’s best to take the viewer on a journey, an adventure even, throughout the show as the relationship between animal and human is explored.
In total there are 8 multi-sensory areas within the exhibition space all exploring the relationship with nature and man’s attempt to control it. Starting in the entrance lobby with bark chippings on the floor and showing films shot of super 8 you are led through a corridor created with an arch of antlers created in collaboration with Despina Charitonidi. It is meant to represent the trophies of war, or the “symbols of pride reduced to sticks” as the show literature describes.
The passage leads into a room in which images are projected onto old window frames which have been whitewashed and images scratched into the surfaces both front and back. This, another collaboration this time with Edoardo Tresoldi is meant to create a series of double images which reveal hidden meanings. The scratching technique is something Borondo has used before on the streets of the East End.
Moving on into a remarkable installation featuring a wall made of bales of hay and cages with metal birds flying around as well as being trapped inside. “The birds in the structure lose their essence, yet outside they are fully formed and free. The work suggests nature has its own order but what we impose is an order to capture it, to deny it”, so says the show flyer.
A projector animates a girl crawling in a circle around the floor in the next room in what is a collaboration with Carmen Main. The girl is depicted as a domesticated animal “her need for control and routine destroy her animal instincts, burying her at every turn” so says the show literature. Next a room filled with real and fake grass on each wall draws the eye to a wreath centered in the middle, a supposed examination of the human desire to leave a legacy.
A little cubby hole nearby shows a spiral full of faces hanging from the roof all of which are scratched into the photo frames that make up the installation. This is followed by the most expansive room with a variety of paintings on the walls and on glass hanging down from the ceiling all with what looks to be a hunting theme.
It’s an impressive and immersive exhibition with the viewer taken on a real journey of multi-sensory experiences. To quote the show flyer “we envy what is wild, unpredictable, and the freedom that follows. However, it is what we fear that fascinates us and so we decide to subdue it, keep it in a cage and observe it from the outside. We choose to live in captivity. Artificiality prevails, life ends.”
‘Animal’ by Gonzalo Borondo is showing at the London Newcastle exhibition space on Redchurch Street from 5 February 2015 to 26 February 2015. Those wanted to learn more about Borondo should see an exclusive behind the scenes look as he created his show here with HookedBlog.
Borondo ‘Animal’ Gallery