“Escape from Studio Voltaire”
Through Dec. 19

Studio Voltaire presents “Escape from Studio Voltaire,” the first solo exhibition in London by Mark Hutchinson. The project consists of two integral parts: an installation in the gallery and a free booklet, “On Art and Claustrophobia.”

The scene in the gallery looks chaotic and interrupted. The space is crammed full of tables and chairs, with barely enough space to walk amongst them. The surfaces are buried under large sheets of paper, which overflow the bounds of the tables.

These papers are blueprints, diagrams and data showing how one might leave the gallery, if leaving through the official entrance/exit became impossible.

The plans of escape range from the simple and practical (climbing out the window), to the elaborate and whimsical (escaping from the roof in a hot air balloon).

The other part of the project, the booklet, contains two main essays. One is an extract from an old case history of a self-declared claustrophobic artist, by New York City-based analyst Jennifer Bird:

“The claustrophobic person is […] an amateur escape artist. He needs, in order to physically survive, to be ingenious about his exits and entrances.”
-- Adam Philips

In the second essay, artist Mark Hutchinson compares the symptoms of claustrophobia with the difficulties of being a critically and politically engaged artist.

The artist, like the claustrophobic person, can feel constricted by surrounding structures.

For both artist and claustrophobic, it is the possibility of escape, however unlikely in practice, that needs to be kept alive through a process of vigilance, ingenuity and imagination.

Find it: Studio Voltaire
1a Nelson’s Row, Clapham Common
Get info: +44 (0)20 7622 1294

Find art events in other cities, in the DEC/JAN issue of "Arte Six."