For the second exhibition of British artist / musician Steven Claydon at Sadie Coles HQ, ‘The Gilded Bough’ features sculptures, installations and sounds in which the artist examines the notion of the counterintuitive idea that cloaking an object might allow it to be seen more clearly.
Cloaking is a paradox found in the process of scanning electron microscopy, where samples are typically coated in ultra-thin layers of gold before going under the microscope (the conductive material increases the quantity of ‘secondary electrons’ that can be detected from their surfaces). Using gold plating as a material and a metaphor, Claydon equivocates between the surfaces and essences of objects. Gilding becomes a means of scrutinising.
The exhibition’s title refers to James Frazer’s The Golden Bough (first published in 1890), a seminal work of late-Victorian anthropology. Frazer’s understanding of ritual objects – as materials in which some special nature or aura may reside. In The Gilded Bough, objects appear in a variety of real and synthetic forms. Each oscillates between the status of an autonomous vessel and a vehicle for narratives.
By misquoting Frazer’s title, Claydon raises the idea of the alchemical mutations or degradations suffered by cultural artefacts over time. The gilding effect expresses the idea of projecting a potentially deceptive beauty or sanctity or financial worth onto an object. Weaving between the arcane and the technological, Claydon draws unlikely and improbable juxtapositions.
View the full set of pics here
Steven Claydon – The Guilded Bough
Until 2 April 2016
Sadie Coles HQ