Open Frequency 2010: Kit Craig selected by Shama Khanna

Open Frequency 2010: Kit Craig selected by Shama Khanna Kit Craig, What If I Were To Make A Sculpture Of Janus' Head, 2010. Framed drawings, wooden structure, cast jesmonite. 45cm x 4200cm x 2500cm

Shama Khanna, an independent curator, profiles London-based artist Kit Craig for Open Frequency.

Although Kit Craig’s artworks assume the form of visual signs, rather than pure translations of a thought or idea, they are involved in an imperfect process of attempting communication. At this penultimate stage before clarification, the objects can be difficult; self-consciously looping around themselves, trying in earnest to overcome their object-ness and speak.

Like blinkers around the eyes of a horse, in a new work entitled ‘The Offer Up’ (2010) two plaster-cast hands improvise a framing device for the viewer to approach the work. Looking through the hands, however, the viewer is confronted by the back of a drawing of the negative space created by the cupped hands, a type of diagram depicting the act of looking.

The work references the fifteenth-century Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi’s first experiments into linear perspective. In order to test the accuracy of his pioneering spatial drawings he would ask his colleagues to measure them directly against reality: holding a mirror out in front of them with one hand, the viewer looked through a hole in the back of the drawing in order to see a reflection of the image within the extended frame of the actual landscape depicted. In Craig’s ‘The Offer Up’, the effect of concentrating your focus through the sculpted hands is similarly inverted, to instead rest on the work’s fictional representation of space as a quality more real than reality.

In this sense - as if they might have a function in testing reality - Craig’s observational drawings of the objects he makes suggest a different purpose from a preliminary sketch or projected imaginary. By actively pursuing an impossible logic of objects that can never be seen from all sides at once, these working drawings resist being reduced to empty documentation.

The subject of ‘Back Of The Front’ (2010) is a ‘wordhead’, a composite object made up from all the individual letters from the titles of the books filed on the artist’s bookshelf, extruded in clay and then reassembled together in successive layers. Showing its insides on its outside, the resulting aggregate, as evidence of a particular process undergone, cannot be repeated.

At several key stages of removal and reconstruction, the specificity of the titles to the books on the shelf is transferred to the dimensions of the object. A drawing of the wordhead incorporated into the work represents the experiment undergone with ambiguous results. The process seems to reflect a different way of knowing something, or a suggested stance with which to relate to something seemingly impenetrable by altering its potential.

Speaking generally, Craig talks about how the colour black represents all colours at once, suggesting how knowledge can be derived from extreme muddiness or distraction. By removing the original point of reference from the work, a back-and-forth energy is produced as the resolution of meaning is closed in upon and then inevitably eluded. This rhythm seems to generate unnamed by-products, perhaps the debris of this excess desire. Craig's artwork presents the paradox of making thought experiments concrete grappled with since Galileo in the Renaissance. His practice actively engages with a depth of affects of trying.

Shama Khanna, September 2010

Artist's biography

Kit Craig (b. 1980, London) studied MA Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art and Design (2002-2003) after studying BA Fine Art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1998-2002). He lives and works in London.

Kit has had solo exhibitions at Arcade, London in 2008 (Seer of The Diagram/Diagram of The Seer), Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin, Italy with Nick Laessing, and he currently has a solo show at Arcade, London – 173cm – until 30 October 2010.

Selected group exhibitions include With Words Like Smoke, Chelsea Space, London; Sette Piccoli Errori, Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2010); It’s Not For Reading, It’s For Making, FormContent, London; Drawing 2009, Drawing Room, London; Make Your Own Kaleidoscope, Tricycle Gallery, London (2009); The Show Will Be Titled At Its End, FormContent, London; Free Radicals, ArtNews Projects, Berlin; Tales Of Disbelief, La Galerie, Noisy-Le-Sec, Paris; Rehearsing Realities, FormContent, London (2008); I Can’t Live Without…, The Showroom, London (2007).

Kit lives and works in London and is represented by Arcade, London

About Shama Khanna

Shama Khanna (born 1981, Nairobi) is a curator and writer based in London. She is the curator of the thematic programme at Oberhausen Film Festival 2013. Over the course of her career she has presented projects at Showroom, E:vent gallery, Tate and Lux/ ICA Biennial of Moving Image in London, Spike Island in Bristol, Iaspis in Umeå, Kunstverein Muenchen and with e-flux, Performa and P. S. 1 in New York City. She writes for Frieze and Mousse magazines as well as numerous independent publications. She teaches at Chelsea College, University of the Arts London and is a participant on the 2012/ 2013 Curatorlab at Konstfack, Stockholm.

Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.