JAY Hutchinson’s current exhibition at Olga is the most conceptually rigorous by the artist that I have personally seen to date. It also represents a departure of sorts from the gallery’s regular programming, and pushes against the expectations of dealer gallery exhibitions more generally — in this corner of the world at least. These prefatory remarks are, of course, consistent with conceptual art projects in the sense that they often require more contextual foregrounding to assist viewers not familiar with the artist’s work. This contextualisation itself can be problematic from the perspective of the viewer who may want to approach the exhibition without an “explanation” (there will be those who have this experience), and from the position of the reviewer, who can be similarly wary of providing information in a way that may undercut the apparent inscrutability of the exhibition. The issue here is: how much to give away?
Notice, if you will, the trails of red brick dust that have plumed down from the masonry screws on the white wall and have caught on remnants of filler from previous exhibitions. Look at the arrangement of screws and nails themselves. Refer to the title: is this what the city looked like in May? Are the upright ladder and the rubbish on the floor part of the exhibition? Has the artist worked with rubbish in the past? Is that a rubbish bag in the corner?