To coincide with the Frieze weekend and the consequential influx of art collectors to London over the next few days, Los Angeles-based OH-WOW are exhibiting some of Scott Campbell’s works in a pop-up gallery on Hanbury Street E1. Go past the glass-fronted space and you see some strikingly high-shine, high-resolution C-prints of the moon - fifteen in all – showing sequential stages of its waxing and waning. Is this another work that takes interplanetary relations for inspiration? Could the meditation on the galactic be a recurrent preoccupation of artists of 2012?
But wait – go inside, draw closer and everything changes. The works are not glossy photographs of planetary craters but thin, unevenly carved discs of foam sunk into resin. Look closer still to find that what you thought were the untouched surfaces of a remote landmass are apparently not so remote – they have been defaced, with the type of amateur graffiti found on the back of a toilet door or in a teenage diary. ‘I MISS YOU GUYS’ etched on a gravestone, crossed hearts, rainbows, NO WAY JOSE in bubble writing, a scrawled LOL ASAP 4EVA.
Scott Campbell is a tattoo-artist by trade (to the stars apparently), but he has made a whole host of artworks that play with the tropes of popular culture. His works aren't anything particularly groundbreaking in their contribution to critical theory perhaps, but they can be quite entertaining – at least for you to say ‘oh wow, that’s cool’ and then be on your way. That was my experience today anyway.
I’ve ruined the surprise, but only to get you to go – OH-WOW will fly back across the Atlantic after 13th October. See their press release for this show here.