Motion Sickness is the birthchild of Cambridge Art grads Eleanor Breeze, Denise Kehoe and Arabella Hilfiker. Having secured Lion Yard shop premises in central Cambridge, the art collective has gone from strength to strength against the odds in establishment central. Recent years have seen the likes of Heong Gallery open in Downing College and more attention towards Kettle’s Yard with its renovation finally realised in 2018 (see previous post). When across the country, collectives have been pushing the boundaries of young emerging art, Cambridge has been left behind in a bubble of contemporary complacency.
Motion Sickness represents the insecurities of generation XYZ, describing themselves as ‘products of millenial ephemera,’ examining our online presence and the struggles of being emerging artists in an ambivalent world. Whilst curating their own work, they have connected with other emerging collectives such as STOCK Gallery, Manchester curating, ‘Here and How?’ in the project space at the latter end of 2019. Taking place in the gallery unit, seven artists from STOCK continue with the exploration of current affairs, wryly poking at a year of fragmentation and disillusionment within a country trying to come to terms with its new, post Brexit vote identity.
The show surely delivered in its presentation of clean and gestural sculpture that reflects thoughtful practice. Kieran Leach’s work is described as a practice of satirising and and abstracting everyday occurrences. ‘Going Nowhere Fast’ reminds me of a Looney Tunes Road Runner-esque moment, with dust kicking up; a framed moment caught in time and space hinting at the emerging generation trying to rev at full speed, get ahead of our peers and other generations, only to find ourselves in the same spot.
Equally strong works, and pictured above is Precious Innes, ‘Tiled Down’ with Claire Dorsett ‘8 Years On and Still Going Strong’, similarly to Leach, taking inspiration from the everyday. Dorsett is unafraid of being bold – her blue bra banner is very much in your face as soon as you walk through the front door. Is this more of a provocation directed at the male viewer? All I can tell is that the white lines and naive style compliments Innes’ playful piece. Innes takes a material and manipulates it as a means of liberating it from its original function. I like the way she describes her practice as a means of using gravity to push a sculpture to become freestanding – it is a balancing act which we can all associate with in our daily lives. Her own insight hints towards sexual connotations and gender. We could say that a successful feat in sculpture makes it even more well deserved as a female since it can be considered a male dominated practice. Perhaps there is a tangible sexual tension to putting these two works in close proximity with a feminine vs masculine conversation, or perhaps something more along the lines of ’emancipated woman/women’ but caught up in a societal contradiction of stagnant progress. I will just leave it there before getting too Freudian and making any phallic suggestions…
Motion Sickness went onto curate an exhibition in December with Irvin Pascale (Bloomberg New Contemporaries Artist 2017) and continue to hold their unit space within the Grand Arcade, courtesy of the central shopping estate. The follow up, million dollar question is: will generation XYZ continue to have angst once they find themselves anchored in the years to come, or will they swallow a dose of here and now and find some comfort in complacency? As artists living in the city for years with a limited platform, what a prime placement for this collaborative that is now being heard by the right people. However, they might now be saying, ‘we are here, but what’s next’?