Milan, April 2015 - NAM project announces the solo show of the artist Toby Christian , titled "A Bunch of Keys “.
Toby Christian’s expansive practice centres around his written responses to objects, which range from rare museological artefacts to more familiar domestic items. Appropriating the descriptive style of the film treatment, written in the present tense, his texts describe the minutiae of objects, surfaces and interiors. A Bunch of
Keys is an extension of Christian’s interested in these imagined settings
A series of drawings made in coloured pencil on rough concrete tiles suggests a group of plans whose plot is equivocal. Many of the drawn plans here are punctuated with a series of scratches, grooves and notches, made with the artist’s keys. These marks imitate those found unexpectedly on car doors, public monuments and bar-room
tables, or tallies made on walls to mark time, and are used to emphasise and trace parts of each two dimensional armature. Bracketed asides are designated to the title of each of these plans, to associate each drawing to a more tangible thing (-hanger,-heels, -hinges).
Beneath these drawings, an installation of cut carpet tiles traces the edges of the gallery walls. Arranged in a formation that evokes the beginnings of a herringbone arrangement of a wooden parquet floor, these pieces of carpet are laid out in the parts of the gallery floor rarely stepped on. Reclaimed from seven defunct enterprises in
Glasgow, they show signs of wear, stains and scuffs. Usually easy to transport and install, and a cheap way to cover a floor, here these modular tiles have been cut and laid to present a formally recurring floor-based frieze around the room, with a woodlike colour range.
Upstairs in the gallery, this synthetic translation of organic material is echoed in a video work of a view looking out from a hotel window in Bordeaux, blocked by an artificial plant. The pallid leaves and flowers of the plant have been bleached by exposure to the sun, and shake slightly in their ambient breeze. This footage records a short instance of the plants function, as exterior decoration provided for a transient audience.
Toby Christian was born in 1983, Boston, Lincolnshire. He lives and works in Glasgow. Recent solo exhibitions include The Plastically Parroting, Intermedia, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, (2014); A Belgian Fence, RH
Contemporary, New York (2014) and The Tread and the Rise, Baró Galeria, São Paulo (2013). Recent group exhibitions include Quiz, curated by Robert Stadler and Alexis Vaillant, Galeries Poirel, Nancy (2014), Detours/After Detournement, Enclave, London (2014) and Unseen Blows, Seventeen, London (2012). In 2012 Christian gave a reading his articular lung at the Waterstones flagship store in London, and in 2013 his first book of writing Measures was published by Koenig Books, who will publish his second book, which he is currently working on.