Workplace Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Eric Bainbridge at Workplace London.
‘Late 90’s Constructions’ brings together a body of works made by Bainbridge in 1997 that specifically address the history of Modernism and the traditional material hierarchies of Modernist Sculpture. In these works Bainbridge employs ubiquitous ‘low – grade’ materials such as melamine faced chipboard and dental floss to reappraise a Formalist vocabulary. That a material can be ‘second - hand’ and in some way dirtied and devalued by its former use - yet be explored for its aesthetic potential nevertheless, sits at odds with the Modernist ideal of ‘truth to materials’ and the inevitable distillation of form and material towards a refined ‘pure’ essence. In contrast to this reductivist impetus, Bainbridge emphasises the ‘subordinate’
conditions of temporal normality, liberating the autonomous Art object via the absurd patina of everyday life.
‘(…) the small scale of these sculptures allows for various references - constructivism, architecture, the amateur ‘string
picture’, the still life etc. Although I don’t consider them as maquettes, the size of the work enables an active
imaginative relationship to the object, i.e. it is easy to fantasize about their potential large scale and environmental
potential. I wanted to continue exploring the aesthetic, status, and value of the material by using a language that
was recognizably modernist. It seemed important that the works ‘belonged’ to something historical. I like the idea1
that if all things were destroyed and we had to remake the contents of museums without “special” materials maybe
we would use melamine and dental floss (….)’
Eric Bainbridge, 2014