TURN, FOLD, FLIP
Ciaran Begley, Consuelo Cavaniglia & Adrian De Giorgio
We are currently living in a time of heightened individualism. The idea that we are all unique beings, autonomous and free is not oblique, but it certainly is pervasive. We can see this in the way that products pander to our sense of self, the way that the internet allows us to construct a vision of who we are and broadcast our otherwise silent opinion. We can also see this in the decline of important social collectives such as unions and cooperatives.
In the artworld we can also get a sense of this as art movements, the unit that the artworld functions within have become increasingly narrowed. We have moved from coherent art movements that encompassed close to a century (the Renaissance), to movements encompassing an avant-garde (Cubism, Expressionism), to movements encompassing ever smaller friendship circles (Nouveau Realisme in the 60s down to the YBAs in the 90s).
A rich illustration of the demise of the collective spirit is how quickly an artist will rebuke the suggestion that he or she is part of a genre or movement. The concern of being pigeon-holed, coupled with the notion that what we’re doing is unique means that the contemporary artist wishes to escape capture and classification.
TURN/FOLD/FLIP counters this trend. What struck me about this exhibition was its format: 3 friends (Ciaran Begley, Consuelo Cavaniglia & Adrian De Giorgio) working together to create a single body of work: An installation centered around the idea of the book but not through text, nor the idea of a storyline, but to explore geometry, structure and space.
I decided to talk with the artists about the process of working together and it dawned on me that an underlying creative force was at play that you wouldn’t find elsewhere, I wrote down the striking features of the work:
- The dynamic, angular desks that mock you from every differing perspective
- The semaphore-like folded paper, devoid of words, but longing for communication
- The books that skirt between the world of a children’s pop-up book and an architectural model
The exhibition was born of a collective spirit. Both synergy and compromise are dirty words – but the driving force of the work lay somewhere near but just outside of both of these concepts.
It was akin to the idea of Vanguardism. Whereas this idea is somewhat entangled to revolutionary events of over 100 years ago, I hope to untangle it slightly here: TURN/FOLD/FLIP is a Vanguardism that occurred when a group advanced a belief in an idea born entirely from collective reasoning. Whilst the artists all have individual practices, the result established here is unique.
-by David Greenhalgh