Collis is interested in the shift in perception which necessarily takes place on realising, for instance, that the ostensibly accidental paint-drips on a stepladder are, in fact, an illusion created by the meticulous and opulent inlaying of opals. The value of high concept, literally precious substances, and the labour of the artist/artisan are called to throw each other into subtle relief.
Susan Collis at Great Russell Street
Susan Collis, a British artist with an oeuvre especially suited to Plinth's first pop-up space, created a site-specific installation in the gallery’s dedicated Ikon studio on the top floor. Collis’ work interrogates the value, monetary and cultural, assigned to objects which variously reject and conform to accepted notions of ‘artwork’.
The value of high concept, literally precious substances, and the labour of the artist/artisan are called to throw each other into subtle relief.
Collis’ work plays with its viewer’s perception. Often, her exhibitions read as unfinished, in-progress, and consist of objects which one might install with, rather than display in their own right. Careful attention is rewarded, though. Their immense worth – either imbued through labour or precious materials – is discovered with all the childish joy of an Easter egg or treasure hunt. More profound, it forces us to reconsider the way we move through the world; what is worth noticing.
Plinth’s first gallery space, then, seemed the perfect setting for an exhibition of Collis’ work in particular. The house, strange and ancient and full of idiosyncrasies, already invited exploration and careful inspection – and, in the parts where we chose to leave the crumbling to its own devices, a demand on its visitors to look for beauty in unexpected places.
Plinth’s new gallery space seems the perfect setting for an exhibition of Collis’ work in particular.