The Camden Arts Centre is soon to reach the end of its half century celebrations, a huge milestone for any gallery. The main space has remained largely unchanged in all that time and the natural light that so elegantly illuminates the room was, towards the end of a late sunny March day, so bright that it almost obscured the writing on the wall.
For that was what Holmqvist had done. In marker pen. As well as using woven carpet and digitally printed canvases, though conspicuously absent neon. The marketing had implied the word play favoured by this Swedish artist would be illuminating in an electrical sense, not just enlightening in its cognitive connections.
Language and text have obsessed the artist and in this show there are references from pop to politics and concrete poetry to graffiti. Untitled (Lion In Oil), 2016 is a deceptively empty canvas work, reading once reversed from it's part-upside down rendition; Lion in oil lion in oil, Lion in oil lion in oil, Lion in oil lion in oil, Lion in oil in Illinois.
The more dense works play around with 'this shit' and other more street orientated vernacular. The artist is planning performances around this exhibition and intends to explore more the complexities of communication - where we get it wrong as much as how important it is to get it right. Or write?
This is a show of tickling and teasing words into new forms, producing patterns and patina to script and the scripted. In our age of over-information it can seem like Holmqvist has a natural response to too much; the very immediacy of all the information published, shared and created is confusion and the disenfranchised - here, despite these introduced distances there is still an attempt at translation, a willing humour found in the evolution of Chinese whispers.
http://www.camdenartscentre.org/whats-on/view/holmqvist until June 5th