Native Londoner Giles Round creates sculptures and assemblages that resemble the confounding models of a minimalist stage set designer and his work is currently being shown at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. Rectilinear frames evoke the woodwork of Donald Judd, twisting in space to create volumes into which he introduces monochromatic panels, lights and typographic studies. Like other minimalist artists before him, Round appropriates the language of design for artistic expression. These mise-en-scènes call to mind the rigorous formalism of the modern interior while at the same time highlighting its deficiencies.
Round's work is featured in the ICA's Nought to Sixty program, which highlights the work of 60 emerging artists from Britain and Ireland through the beginning of November. His latest project for Nought to Sixty makes reference to the relationship between religious idealism and corruption through a phrase lifted from the diary of British sculptor and printmaker Eric Gill (1882-1940), which reads: "Strange days and nights of mystery and fear mixed with excitement and wonder strange days and nights strange months and years." Gill was notable for his commitment to the arts and crafts as well as his religious devotion, qualities that were sullied when his personal diaries revealed routine bouts of adultery, incest and experimentation with bestiality.
Throughout the exhibit, Round introduces Gill's diary entry with a series of fonts that mirror the line and volume of his own formal structures (click image above for detail), though drift toward incoherence through an adherence to a grid-like presentation. As the ICA notes of this latest work, "Round's three-dimensional compositions are totems of authority, but also reveal the tendency to excess within the heart of idealism."
Giles Round can be viewed on the Upper Galleries of ICA through 8 September 2008.
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