Systems House / Martin Fletcher
For ICI LONDRES, Systems House presents a new body of work, made in London following a year spent living and working in Moscow.
Three human-scale sculptures are shown alongside a series of hand-held totemic structures. Both the aesthetic and utilitarian nature of these objects alludes to the outmoded technologies of industrial design and communication, and the histories of minimal art, modernist idealism and dystopian sci-fi futures.
The inference of anonymous power is inherent in the works, which both receive and emit the gaze of the viewer, generating a feeling of ominous uncertainty. The domestic proportions and highly-finished aesthetic of the work transposes these ideas of surveillance, supremacy and control into the realm of consumerism and lifestyle.
In all the sculptures, polished aluminium and steel echo the sleek efficiency of the factory production line as well as the ideals of Soviet Constructivism, whilst the flashes of superficial fluorescence are at odds to this functional form. Referencing both high-visibility safety wear and the pop-aesthetic of day-glo fashion, these details evoke a conflict between the visual language of hazard-warning signs and the disposability of mass-produced consumer goods.
Informed by fetishes, (totemic objects used in rituals and ceremonies by pre-colonial communities) the small hand-held sculptures also bear witness to the artists’ interest in contemporary signalling devices, dowsing sticks and bomb detectors. Stripped of their original purpose, and serving no useful function, they become contemporary “magic wands”, embodying the notion of Marx’s commodity fetish.