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Review: Precious Innes and Kasumi Dean – A New Place For Me To Sit

Review of Precious Innes and Kasumi Dean – A New Place For Me To Sit

Words by Bethan Luisa Ward

A New Place to Sit is a duo exhibition featuring Manchester-based artists Precious Innes and Kasumi Dean. The exhibition explores creating work for a shared space reminiscent of when they previously shared a studio space. Both artists are playful in their use of material through this new dialogue as they question how structure can inform the function of the work.

As you step inside the space, the first thing you are struck by is the bright pastel bean bags running the length of the gallery- which is weirdly nostalgic of primary school PE. This is Kasumi Dean’s Resting Place (Dangos), an interesting use of a space that hasn’t always existed in The Trophy Room, but one that is definitely unsure of its identity. Taking inspiration from her heritage, Dean has used Japanese sushi dumplings to inform the colours and shape of the kidney-like blobs that populate this small corridor. The work is playful and enticing, as the colour from the bean bags bleeds into the clouded plastic studio front, providing a rare hint of what’s inside. This is definitely one of the highlights of the exhibition.

Kasumi Dean, Adorned Sushi Boards (i, ii & iii), 2017 Installation view at A New Place For Me To Sit, The Trophy Room, 2017. Photo: Alexander J. Croft

The Japanese influence is further evident through the three Adorned Sushi Boards that are created from found items, textiles and further embellished with small painted motifs. By far the most striking is the contrasting blue and yellow fabrics of #3, with its bold pattern, texture and delicate embroidery it presents an abstract and contemporary representation of Japanese eating culture.

Innes’ work, A Different Place to Sit, was much more striking in person than seen previously on photographs, and presents Ikea shelves displayed in unorthodox forms which host tubular shapes that grow and fall and link to one another. The juxtaposition between the evidently heavy material and the elegant, smooth, shapes is an element that is inherent in both artists work. Innes’ tubes barely ‘sit’ on the shelves, but rather hang, pose and droop across the levels. This is perhaps indicative of the temporality within which the two artists have created the work and the liminal position of no longer having a shared studio base or ‘a place to sit’.

There is something quite phallic about the concrete shapes and the way the cylinders are poised gives a false sense of weight. However, the delicacy in the finish of the concrete makes them appear almost graceful, but the position tense. This artwork is clever and the more time you spend observing it, the clearer this becomes. Materials and shapes slot together effortlessly as Innes utilises gravity to capture the movement of concrete and catapult inanimate shapes from one place to another.

Precious Innes, A Different Place For Me To Sit, 2017 Installation view at A New Place For Me To Sit, The Trophy Room, 2017. Photo: Alexander J. Croft

An interesting interaction between the artists sees more of Dean’s ‘dangos’ hang from one of Innes’ shelves – a perfect juxtaposition between weight and material – as the soft shapes hang in mesh and the concrete cylinder is cautiously propped up by fine wooden rods above the shelf.

A New Place to Sit is playful and light in its approach to the temporality of sharing spaces and ideas. It toys with how materials can be used in unusual ways and appear both different in aesthetics and different in purpose. The sculptural forms created by both artists are funny and clever and they explore how their work might interact in a new way while they temporarily share a place to sit within the brown walls of The Trophy Room.

The exhibition is on at The Trophy Room until 26th August 2017 and is open by appointment. The Trophy Room is an independent art space based in The Royal Standard, Northern Lights, Liverpool.

About the Author:

Bethan Luisa Ward lives and works in Manchester, she is currently a Development Assistant for The Lowry, Manchester, and has previously worked for Liverpool Biennial where she and Laura Rushton coordinated the public programme workshop ’Crypto: A Psycho-Geographic Wander Through Liverpool’