Nick Hackworth

Angus Fairhurst, Sadie Coles

Essays & Reviews Evenign Standard

Exhibitions of sketches and drawings are traditionally billed as a privileged insight into the mind and working practices of an artist. This exhibition of works on paper supplies just such an insight into the world of Angus Fairhurst, though the privilege is a dubious one. Fairhurst, a fully paid-up member of the YBA club, has always produced an eclectic body of work, to say the least. He has exhibited paintings, annoyed gallery staff on the phone, broadcast the results and jumped around in a gorilla suit. At the recent Apocalypse exhibition at the Royal Academy he presented an installation entitled Imagine You Are Top Banana, a hall of mirrors and a light box, which declared with quiet fury: Stand Still And Rot.

From the evidence of the sketches, mangled collages, abused postcards and animations that adorn the gallery walls, Fairhurst’s restless- ness has not diminished. A few coherent strands of interest emerge. One strand comprises images that have all evidence of human activity scratched out. A postcard featuring a quintessentially Nordic scene, with geysers spouting into the sky contains the ghostly forms of three humans reduced to white spaces, their presence erased by Fairhurst’s obsessive hand. Another contains the form of a model reclining by a sparkling pool, her form also reduced to white negative space. This concern with the dissection of carefully constructed images extends to brands and advertising. A collage of adverts from glossy magazines hangs impotently from the wall, every sign of branding obliterated. Elsewhere, however, strands disentangle and it becomes impossible to tease out either meaning or value.

Chaos and ephemera rule: Invitations to art-show private views (including one to his own show) are daubed with skulls and random figures. Sketches outline proposals for, monumental pieces of sculpture. In the corner a TV screen flashes with a short and simple text animation. The legend: “This does not last more than one second”. Sometimes, however, self-awareness is not enough.

Until 12 April. Tel: 020 7434 2227