Obsessive Compulsive Order

The desire for repetition and order forms an inherent part of the human psyche. This exhibition considers the creative application of repetitive processes, motifs and meticulous order found in contemporary art practice. The artists lead us to consider why human beings are so drawn to repeated, ritualised actions and to motifs which become increasingly familiar as they are presented over and over again.

As the work of Alistair Mackie and Yun-Kyung Jeong reminds us, repetition can be found throughout nature. Borrowing motifs and materials from the natural world, these artists point to the rational systems of order which can be found in all organic life. However both impose a further human cultural order onto the natural through their artistic processes. Conversely Tom Dale, David Rickard and Oscar Santillan take man-made objects and images as a starting point, exploring mass production, advertising and media in terms of repetitive human behaviour.

In Tom Dale’s sculpture ‘The City at Night’ , a ‘ficus’ plant, commonly found in office foyers and receptions has had all its leaves cut into squares in an unseen performance  This attempt to impose the rational and logic of the grid or the network upon a natural form highlights the neurotic and fanatical drives that have remained hidden in both early and late modernism. This is no brutalist work however, as the plant in-turn responds with a subtle performance of its own. Over the duration of the exhibition it uses the square leaves to sustain itself until it can quietly restore itself to its natural form, shedding the remains of the modifications around it.

David Rickard produced One Hundred Thousand (2004-5) over the course of a year, in which he counted and joined exactly 100,000  ‘hundreds and thousands’ to form a small sphere. For Rickard, art and production are inherently and importantly linked; this work is presented as the evidence of a painstaking artistic process, whereby the process takes on more importance than the result. The work also functions on belief – since it is impossible to tell with the naked eye how many sweets are in the sphere we must trust the artist’s statement.

To create All the Blinks (2010-11), Ecuadorian artist Oscar Santillan watched every film starring James Dean taking a screenshot whenever the actor was shown blinking and presenting these images en masse in order to produce a complete static record.  Repeatedly presenting the vulnerability in the moment of blinking subverts the machismo associated with this actor and in this quantity becomes quite unsettling. Santillan takes an unconsciously repeated human action and applies his own repetitive process in order to bring this almost imperceptible ritual to the fore.

Yun-Kyung Jeong’s works are composed through the repetition of a small leaf-shaped motif. These motifs are combined and re-combined into shapes evocative of a range of conflicting forms derived from both nature and architecture. In Axonometric Jungle VI (2013) Jeong uses a repetitive process in order to exploit the constructive possibilities within the constraints of this one constant. The process is surprisingly organic; with pre-structuring kept to a minimum, the marks grow into form around construction lines that are intentionally retained to suggest an everongoing process.

In order to create Complex System 58 and 59 Alastair Mackie collected and processed cuttlefish bones into geometric tiles, homogenising the irregularity of this natural material further by piecing the tiles into interlocking patterns. Here we see a tension between human culture and nature that is often present in his work, an unweighted consideration of man’s desire to find control through order. the elements in Complex System 58 and 59 vary slightly in colour and texture in spite of their inherent natural order and further human processing. Despite all attempts there are no exact replicas in either nature or human production; we must accept that true order and control are a fallacy.


Alastair Mackie has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally, included in exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery, London, the Wallace Collection, London and the Reykjavik Art Museum. In 2009 he was commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society to make an out door sculpture for the Economist Plaza in St. James’ , London. His work is held in collections including: the Saatchi Collection, London, Olbricht Collection, Berlin, the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, the Wellcome Trust Collection, London, the Museum of Art and Design, New York.

David Rickard studied architecture at the Auckland School of Architecture in New Zealand, before studying art at Brera Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan and Central Saint Martins, London. Solo exhibitions include Displacements, Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venice (2012), Testing the Limits, The Nunnery, Bow Arts Trust, London (2011), Time + Trace, Sumarria Lunn Gallery, London (2011), Test Flights, Economist Plaza, London (2010), Mitosis, Galleria Michela Rizzo, Treviso, Italy (2009), Exhaust 19-06-08, Goethe-Institut, London (2008), Solid State, Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venice, (2008) and Dilate, Trolley Gallery, London (2007). Group shows include Zu Haus, LoBe Project Space, Berlin (2012), CALL, Luis Adelantado, Valencia (2012), Intersections – Science in Contemporary Art, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel (2012), David Rickard & Tommy Stockel, LoBe Project Space, Berlin (2012), Out of Control, NEST, The Hague (2012), David Rickard & Franco Vaccari, Scatolabianca, dialogue #1, Independents2, ArtVerona (2011), Round the Clock, 54th Venice Biennale (2011), Beyond Ourselves, Royal Society of Science, London (2011), The Wolfson Syndrome, The Modern Language Experiment, London (2011), Exteriority, Sumarria Lunn, London (2010), Appetite for Destruction, NEST, The Hague (2010), David Rickard/RomeuGoncalves, The Mews Project Space, London (2010), The Jerwood Sculpture Prize, The Jerwood Space, London (2005) and Long Live Romance II, Galleria Pack, Milan / Lipanjepuntin, Rome (2005).

Oscar Santillan received an MFA degree in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University – VCU; attended residencies at Skowhegan and Seven Below; and, taught both at the US and Ecuador. He is in residency at the Van Eyck Academie in The Netherlands. His work has been exhibited at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (MX), Marilia Razuk Gallery (BR), The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art – SECCA (US), Oud-Rekem castle (Belgium), Centro de Arte Contemporáneo – CAC (EC), Fundación ODEON (CO), Havana Biennial (CU), VOGT Gallery (US), Bonnefanten Museum (NL), DPM Gallery (EC), The Ridder (NL), OPTIONS – Biennial of the Project of the Arts (US), Munikat (DE), Cuenca Biennial (EC), among other venues.

Tom Dale was born in Kendal UK in 1974. Solo exhibitions have included IFC Center, New York (2009); Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (2008); Plymouth Arts Centre (2008); Union Gallery, London (2006-7); Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2002) and Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw (2000). Dale has participated in recent group exhibitions including The Art of the Pop Video, Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (2011); Dawnbreakers, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2010); Videonale 12, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow/Kunstmuseum, Bonn (2010/2009); Deceitful Moon, Hayward Gallery, London (2009) and Reckless Behavior, Getty Museum, LA (2006). His work is featured in the Hayward’s upcoming touring exhibition Outrageous Fortune. Dale holds an MA from Goldsmiths and is currently undertaking doctoral research at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Tom Dale: Towards an Absolute was published by Plymouth Arts Centre in 2009.

Yun-Kyung Jeong is a graduate of Ewha University (Seoul), Slade School of Fine Art and Goldsmiths. Solo exhibitions include Axonometric, Sumarria Lunn, London (2011), The Song Am Culture Foundation/OCI Museum, Seoul (2010). Groups shows include KIAF – Korea International Art Fair, with SUMARRIA LUNN//Hanmi Gallery, Seoul (2010), Invisible Bond, Korean Cultural Centre, London (2010), T-R-A-C-E, Shan Hyu Museum, China (2010), Natural Recurrence, SUMARRIA LUNN, London (2009), Long Nights, William Angel Gallery, London (2008), 4482: Korean Contemporary Art, London (2008), SFA Alsop Architecture, London (2007), MiKi, Gallery Cott, Seoul (2006) and Uterus, Space Achim, Seoul (2005). The artist is recipient of a number of awards incuding the Renaissance Art Prize (2008) and the Foster Fletcher Prize (2008).

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