Brighton-based artist Lulu Allison has been invited to exhibit her latest work for If...., a season of exhibitions giving artists and curators the chance to show new work to a new audience.
Allison’s two and three-dimensional practice typically occupies non-gallery, sit-specific settings. Her work for If…. however will use the confinements of the ground floor gallery space to create Vagabond Palace.
will transform the public space of the gallery into private or secret spaces, a site-specific work comprised of a series of screens, barriers, walls, arches and small rooms made from newsprint. By filling a whole gallery space the paper walls make a palace, excluding or enclosing, but overrun with fractured points of light. The newsprint takes on a jewel-like quality as the light picks out sparks of advertising and graphic colour and shines through holes in the black and white of the print. There are sections that look like a stained glass window, one that has been lifted from bins rather than set in stone walls.
Being made from cut newsprint (a poor, waste material) the walls will be flimsy. But they act out a frail version of solidity, an idea of solidity that is based upon the willingness of the viewer not to destroy something made valuable in some way by it’s presence in a gallery.
The holes and patterns cut into the newsprint also create value; decoration is a language that is often used to demonstrate power. To embellish, one must have an excess of resources. The further the distance from simple utility, potentially, the greater the demonstration of power. The decoration of this palace is undermined by the use of poor materials and the simplicity of technique. A decoration of taking away rather than adding.
The usually open, light, public area of the gallery will instead invoke the small spaces used for private, humble, sacred or furtive events. Events that are deliberately discreet or screens that are opportunistically used to block a view. What is the difference between secret and private? This may be reflected in the stories uncovered, unfolded, cut and re-formed in the newsprint that makes up the walls. What do the stories, revealed whether by collusion or betrayal, tell us about this difference?