Being in Eastside

The next exhibition at IKON Eastside starts today. Being by Mexican artist Damián Ortega features new work especially commissioned by IKON and runs until 21 October.

This exhibition has developed out of the artist’s research into Birmingham’s local industry and manufacturing heritage. On a site visit, Ortega seized upon massive coils of thin copper sheeting that were processed in factories in the vicinity of Ikon Eastside, prior to recent closure. Particularly interested in the physical properties of the metal, together with the wealth of associations triggered by it, he has created a group of sculptures from single cylindrical rolls. They are suggestive of futuristic cityscapes, with undulating skylines and towers that stretch upwards into tall peaks.

Although appearing to have mutated organically into quasi-architectural forms, the sculptures retain something of their essence as commodities or raw materials. They fuse ideas of this city’s past with its aspiration, suggesting constant evolution and change. Ortega thus resists the condition of sculpture as one of static objects, encouraging instead an understanding of substance as dynamic. He describes his interest in the atomic composition of the metal, indeed of all things, as something constantly in motion: “objects are in process, are being.”

If you’re not familiar with it the Ikon Eastside venue is at 68–70 Heath Mill Lane in Digbeth, just past the Custard Factory arches, and is usually open Thu-Sun 1-5pm.

I managed to miss the launch but I certainly won’t miss the closing party. This being the final exhibition at Ikon’s current Eastside venue theyre having a big bash on Wednesday 31 October. (But they’ll be back in 2008…)

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