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Cooke Latham Gallery opens 'Glitch: The City as Palimpsest', a group exhibition curated by Huma Kabakci
‘Glitch: The City as Palimpsest’ installation view, courtesy the artists and Cooke Latham Gallery, Photography by Ben Deakin 2022.

LONDON.- Cooke Latham Gallery opened Glitch: The City as Palimpsest, a group exhibition curated by Huma Kabakci including works by Radhika Khimji, Hamish Pearch, Shahpour Pouyan, Jaro Varga and Adia Wahid.

A palimpsest is a manuscript that has been modified or changed but that still retains traces of earlier text. In this exhibition Kabakci uses the palimpsest as a metaphor for the city; a site of multiple writings, re-writings and erasures. Working in a variety of different media the five artists negate the concept of any city as having a fixed identity and instead reveal the urban environment as existing in a constant state of flux; subject to the changing environmental, social and economic forces that define it.

Adia Wahid creates diagrammatic paintings in which visual formulas repeat across the canvas. Mesmeric in their order they also draw attention to the ‘errors’, the glitches that occur within her self applied system. In Wahid’s work human error mirrors the technological and biological glitches that occur in the wider world. The paintings can be read as microcosms of the city, a site of continually applied ‘order’ and the intrinsic disruption that is its counterpart.

Shahpour Pouyan has created two domed ‘reliquaries’ as part of an ongoing series referencing historic monuments. Embedded in both sculptures are replicas of human cranium acting as the cupola atop Pouyan’s architectural forms. The work plays upon the infinite variety inherent to architecture and human DNA and is perhaps a nod to the vanitas tradition. Alongside these sculptures are two Persian miniatures, part of a series in which Pouyan painstakingly recreates an original manuscript while removing all human form from the composition. The backdrop has become the subject - a meditation upon the absence of presence.

Jaro Varga’s city diaries are the result of the artist’s prolonged investigation into our experience of the urban environment. Drawing inspiration from psychogeography – a term coined by Guy Debord in 1955 to describe the effect of a particular place on human behaviour - the works describe Varga’s movements within a city, capturing fleeting experiences but also the universality of those experiences. ‘Each page relates to specific location and specific time, but in fact it relates to any location and any time. It states that one city can be present in any other city. It consists of drawings, maps, urban plans, collages, poems and comments’.

Hamish Pearch’s sculpture explores liminal spaces, where the city meets the natural world; industrial wastelands and the edges of urban sprawl. In both his sculptural works organic forms are breaking through mundane human artefacts. Pearch’s work exists in these fissures, exploring humans' insatiable desire to contain, protect and exclude and the cyclical futility of this endeavour.

Radhika Khimji’s practice defies categorisation, it exists somewhere between painting, embroidery and sculpture. In the exhibited work Khimji’s signature red thread punctuates her composition in concentric rings that read almost like the contours on a map - or perhaps the fingerprint of the artist. Identity is at the heart of Khimji’s practice, in the context of this exhibition her layered works act as self termed ‘internal landscapes’. Personal identity as a cipher for the complexity of the modern city.

Huma Kabakci is a second-generation collector, independent curator, and founding director of Open Space, living and working between London and Istanbul. She completed a postgraduate degree in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London (2012-2014). Kabakcı’s curatorial interest lies in creating immersive experiences and a wider dialogue in collaboration with multidisciplinary practitioners. She is primarily interested in theories and topics around diaspora, collective memory, and hospitality.

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