Semi @ Rhubaba
It is a brave move to introduce an exhibition by quoting from Shelley's Ozymandias - ''Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'' – but there is nothing to despair of in Rhubaba's latest show. The gallery programmes as a group, yet Semi benefits from one coherently curated voice, producing a busy and awkward, yet occasionally brilliant show.
The sublime and the ridiculous sit together throughout, often within the same work, and the vulnerable and pathetic position of the artist as performer is the theme from which the shows derives its ready humour. In Gelitin's untitled photographs, naked men seemingly aroused by their natural surroundings are a funny and subversive reference to the male worship of the sublime by painters such as Caspar David Friedrich – do they also bring a further meaning to the show's polysemic title Semi?
The nakedness of the artist is dealt with less literally yet possibly more effectively in works by Lucy Clout, Sian Robinson Davies of Internet, and in particular Josephine Flynn, whose work My Journey (based on true stories) exposes her naked emotion in response to Hollywood movies about the power of competition, creating one of the funniest yet most easily overlooked works in the show. Peter Amoore's humour derives from making insignificance vital to the work and only David Blandy's film Anjin 1600: Episode 1 feels shoehorned in – possibly for the sake of a big name. Yet Alan Currall's work bookends the show well with a welcome and goodbye that unsettles and amuses in equal measure.