When I go to see an exhibition I try really hard to ‘get it’, I really do. And usually I enjoy what I see even if I don’t really understand much about the work. But I’m afraid on this occasion ‘London Garage Sale‘ by Martha Rosler didn’t cause me to linger terribly long. It is essentially a roomful of not particularly interesting junk arranged in a not particularly unusual jumble sale fashion. And if anyone can explain to me what this means I’d be pleased to hear it:
“Garage Sale, with its reference to the status of the art work, art history and art audiences, is interested in examining art as a fetishised object and commodity. It is also a representation of a subjective history and a way of thinking, and it works as a potent metaphor for personal and social relations — especially given its genesis within the highly politicised context of the women’s movement in the 1970s.
Through her examination of domesticity, suburbia and family and the circulation of domestic material objects, Rosler evokes a powerful feminist discourse, which gives clear expression to the anthem of the personal as political.”
I think it might mean that not understanding it is the point, but I’m not sure.
Having said that I did quite enjoy one or two of her films in another part of the gallery, though not really worth a long detour to go and see. However, the ICA is a splendid place to go anyway. The bookshop is full of goodies (but then I do love gallery bookshops) and the bar is quirky and a great place to rest ones tired limbs. There was also a room full of interactive digital art which was great fun to play with.
So overall the ICA is worth popping into if you’re in Trafalgar Square and have £1.50 to spare for a ‘day membership’. But don’t expect to come away from ‘London Garage Sale’ a changed person.