Journey of the Busts – Somerset to Hackney Wick. ‘Sottoportego’ at the Schwartz Gallery.

On a recent visit to Somerset I had the pleasure of accompanying Rodolph de Salis to collect nine ancestral busts commissioned from Cliveden Conservation.   The marble originals from the studio of Antonio Canova are of Count Jerome de Salis (1771-1836) and his wife Henrietta (1785-1856), and were made in Rome in 1816.

Jeromes and Henrietta at Cliveden Conservation waiting to be put in the van for their journey to London.

Since their emergence from the Somerset studio, Jerome and Henrietta have had a busy schedule.  They appeared at a de Salis familiy gathering in Sussex,  and until the end of this week are installed as part of Rodolph de Salis’ installation / Label de Salis presents ‘Sottoportego’ at the Schwartz Gallery Project Space, Hackney Wick.

Label de Salis presents 'Sottoportego' at the Schwartz Gallery Project Space.

The Gallery describes his work as such:  ‘Glittering in hyperspace, it is a carte-blanche melange of objects found, purchased and inherited; a festival of re-evaluation, appropriation and juxtapositioning. The installation blurs the boundaries between gallery, living and storage space. A cornucopia of objects ranging from paintings, antiques, flags, swords, boxes, books, furniture, exhibition catalogues, vinyl records and a myriad of collected items occupy an ambiguous territory whereby objects double as improvised household fixtures and collecting overlaps with personal domestic habits and hoarding tendencies. In short, we are immersed in a space rich in contradictions investigating the role of the viewer, the artist and the gallery as well as the value of art.’

'Sottoportego' detail. Busts, Versace 12" plate, 'Tresors de la Mer', Polaroid Swinger II camera, Arsenal flags, Tennis net belonging to Rodolph's grandfather, last used circa 1970.

Detail of 'Sottoportego' H.M. The Queen, Oil on Canvas by Vinny Reunov, tennis net.

Detail of 'Sottoportego' showing 'Let your imagination run wild', oil-on-canvas, by Vinny Reunov; a Francis Upritchard/New Zealand tote bag; the Lake of Nemi; corked Riesling as skirting board decorative device; rat collaboration piece in laptop bag; totem to my neighbours (eight Hebrew boxes stacked); Arsenal flags from a game they lost 1-3; a good copy of a Reynolds in the Tate; a tennis net last used in 1970; an ivory figure of a praying saint.

Mirror ball in silver plate disc, Jerome in balaclava.

Detail of 'Sottoportego'. Loutoff Mannequin.

Rodolph de Salis 'Homage to Richard Hamilton, Thomas Struth and David Shaw' from the A-L-L-O-T-M-E-N-T-S group show also in the Schwartz Gallery.

A visual cornucopia of intrigue, family history, personal and found items. My favourite being a stack of Hebrew hatboxes in the corner entitled ‘totem to my neighbours’,  meccano and silver forks displayed on the walls, a frying pan containing a rat nest (rat absent) from the house where Rodolph grew up, a collection of jelly moulds,  the self assessment device from the End nightclub (found January 2009 from a large pile of discards on its closure in 2009),  TOTE BAGS from Venice, a catalogue of treasures from Chatsworth and of course the busts who will soon take up their new home in Rodolph’s studio when the show comes down on Monday.

Alas, the fashion for busts seems to have resided.  If however you would like to have a bust made Cliveden Conservation will be happy to oblige.

‘Sottoportego’ closes on Sunday 20th August 2011.  The show is open Thursday (12-6), Friday (12-6) and closing day / party Saturday (12-10pm).

Schwartz Gallery, 92 White Post Lane, London E9 5EN