Sue Tompkins

Article by Jasper Hamill | 15 Feb 2006
Hung with a mute cacophony of sheet upon sheet of blank paper, Tompkin's exhibition is as baffling as it is interesting. The odd bottle of water, an ad from a fashion mag or a scrap of gnomic text point towards an examination of surfaces, creased paper a metaphor for the wrinkled skin the palliative found objects claim to cure. Tompkin's exhibition, by its reticence, is frustrating in the extreme, its edifices seemingly built upon nothing but pretension and blinkered by academic insularity. Yet the work rewards inquiry, clues revealing themselves throughout the exhibition: tiny scraps of spoken phrases, her performances themselves and the appropriated symbols point towards the rationale behind the work. Shunning aesthetics, ironically, to comment upon aesthetics, this exhibition, initially seems lazy, but flickers to life upon further examination. Her work, to paraphrase Barthes, has a present absence at its core which nonetheless pervades any perception of it. [Jasper Hamill]
Modern Institute, Until Feb 15.