Nick Hackworth

Dave Falconer, Modern Art

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

For many people the chance to play the role of the artist is clearly a godsend, giving them a social licence to indulge their obsessive compulsive disorders. Some spend all their time casting negative spaces, some fill canvas after canvas with coloured dots. Dave Falconer, superficially at least, is obsessed with vermin.

Previously he has created tall, grey, tapering towers made up of a multitude of resin casts of dead mice piled on top of each other, as if they had been harvested and glued together by some monstrous insect. Now he has created a huge, room-filling, grotesque ball of casts of dead rats and a wall piece to accompany it, both showing at the gallery Modern Art. Meanwhile, down the road, at the gallery run by the Chapman Brothers in Fashion Street, Falconer is showing a film of an elaborate mouse assault course that he has constructed in his studio and that he has used to put several of the little fellows through their paces. Up ropes they climb and through tubes and pipes they run in search for morsels of food that Falconer has concealed. The film is surprisingly compelling with a particularly nerve- racking vertical rope-climb during which the starring mouse pauses several times and looks down into the yawning chasm beneath to great dramatic effect.

Falconer’s art owes much to the “schlock horror” aesthetic developed by the Chapman brothers. In common with their work, Falconer’s is a tongue-in-cheek reminder of the skull beneath the skin. As they do, he references the world of grime and decay in an amused, ironic and jaded tone that precludes any real sense of disgust.

Until 21 July. Information: 020 7739 2081