Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pump House: Michael Beutler at Spike Island

Someone has built a pre-school, prehistoric monument inside Bristol's Spike Island, and it's great.

I’m in a small room, roughly a five-foot square, with two doors. The walls are made from paper and card, structured by a wooden frame. Two are lined with shelves made from bamboo cane and string, on which are an assortment of objects; dollops and curls of plaster, trinket-sized clay sculptures, geometric card constructions, a tray of espresso cups (Material Tests, 2006-2016).

The room is part of a warren of spaces squeezed into the gallery at Spike Island as part of Michael Beutler's exhibition Pump House. The gallery is partitioned by makeshift walls built from multitudinous materials; pastel-coloured corrugated card (Elefant und Schwein, 2010/2016) contrasts with smooth, thin shiny-silver metal sheets (Fat Potpourri, 2016) and magazine pages bundled up inside colourful netting to make rudimentary building blocks (Sausage Walls, 2014/2016).