Amanda Ross-Ho @ Tramway

Amanda Ross-Ho uses scale and repetition to good use in Tramway's large exhibition space.

Review by Jonathan Coward | 08 Dec 2017
  • Amanda Ross-Ho

Amanda Ross-Ho is best known for scaling-up household objects beyond human proportions in order to provide a ‘sculptural close-up’ of everyday life. So far in her promising career, the LA-based artist has enlarged backpacks and magnified earrings. In her first UK solo exhibition, UNTITLED PERIOD PIECE, 25 gigantic pairs of trousers adorn the wall of the Tramway space. They are inanimate, yet strangely charismatic for chinos.

UNTITLED PERIOD PIECE takes its initial cue from the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film, Modern Times, a silent comedy that famously satirises the mundanity of post-recession factory life. Turned out trouser pockets make an obvious allusion to the austerity that has followed the 2008 economic crash. But far from being a slapstick exhibition of easy laughs, Ross-Ho’s sculptural gestures are dramatic and densely layered, a tragicomedy of things.

To slow down and spend some time among the work is to recognise the diagnostic thread that runs through the exhibition. On mirrored tables, neatly organised assemblages hint at the temporal tensions of economic production: repetition, rest, and metabolism. There are clock hands laid out next to five-fingered gloves, 3D printed fabric-eating bugs, and rogue Nike trainers contextualised as sweatshop artefacts. After a while, the whole room starts to feel like an actual factory floor, haunted by a spectral workforce that has clocked off early – or been laid-off entirely.

Without being explicitly didactic, Ross-Ho unpicks the hours, days, and lifetimes embedded in objects by their producers, who are overlooked and undervalued in the ebbs and flows of free-markets. UNTITLED PERIOD PIECE is Ross-Ho’s work in its sharpest, most critical form. By all means, turn up for the novelty trousers, but expect to leave thinking about a whole lot more.

Until 20 Dec