I saw a really incredible show at the Tetley in Leeds back in July, by an artist called Nika Neelova. Her use of material is really interesting using architectural remnants salvaged from the Tetley building – bannisters, floor boards and paneling. All elements with history, but taken out of context and abstracted. I particularly like these bannister pieces, making loops in the space itself.
I particularly like the way that they sit in the space of the gallery – almost cramming themselves in the space – they manage to feel ungainly and elegant at the same time. She talks about the way that the architectural materials she uses influence our sense of time and place and a kind of ‘reverse archeology’ comes into play, that affects our reading of human history through found objects and obsolete materials. She likes to think of her work containing vestigial traces of human touch and memory.
I can really relate to this idea and think her work is really sensual because of it. It makes me consider how effective it may or not be to try and cast elements of a bannister which is an idea that Ive been mulling over for a while. In her work it is the polished, scratched, marked, but ultimately touched wood of the bannister that conveys this and I think it’d be hard to get a sense of this without the surface itself. It is also the abstraction of the bannisters into a kind of infinity loop that makes the piece comment on the passage of time. She has managed to make something circular and temporally unstable, difficult to place and pin down and is such an interesting piece.