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Desmond Church

19 September - 7 November 2009


Glasgow-based Desmond Church creates drawn and realized proposals for small interventions into the world. Church offers us a beguiling humour, he uses wit to offer us a way into seeing the world afresh in more vivid and complex terms.

Church's bittersweet drawings are made directly onto the gallery wall. Each a miniature world created using only the most simple of means.  His realized proposals however, which are laid directly on to the gallery floor, seem to take on a personae of their own. A "rock with casters" falls onto its side as if drunk, temporarily resting before continuing on its way home. The "cast of the latent air from inside a unused balloon" resembles a shriveled animal. It is indebted to earlier artist's Piero Manzoni's 'Artist's Breath' of 1960, now in the Tate, as much as to Martin Creed's unspectacular sculpture. The balloon, not merely having spent its final breath - but having never fully lived - becomes a memorial to an object that is cheap and commonplace, and yet whose life is joyous but transient. Its fate is, of course, a lot like ours. It is doomed to remain forever latent, its potential unrealized.

Church's imagined worlds conjure up scenes that veer between the comic and the tragic. Or in the artist's words, his vision of the world is "both amusing and pointed on the one hand, yet cruel and manipulative on the other". Church's worldview seems, at first, to proffer a "child-like, mean streak" - but closer inspection reveals a wealth of ideas bubbling under a wickedly barbed surface. Church's playful approach to our usual hierarchies of meanings and hierarchies of objects create what he calls "little cuts" into the fabric of the way we view the world.

Desmond Church: 'Rock on Casters', 2009