Review of Nietzsche's Urbanised Icon at the Loft Space, Liverpool, England, Collaboration by Tony Knox and Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney, Curated by Jo Derbyshire, 18 March 2007.
Sweeney and Knox's collaboration is both interesting and thought provoking. Using the gallery in an interesting way – its white walls are used sparingly, to provide the visitor with the sensation of space. Knox, using photographs taken on successive Remembrance Sundays, of war 'heroes' honouring their fallen comrades brings a sense of loss to the fore. The most striking image is of a wheelchair bound veteran, sat next to a youngster (who I presume to be his Great-Grandson), who share regimental colours. Knox further utilises the space with the continuation of the theme of the photographs, using lettering installed at a right angle, on the fresh white walls that reads:to the departed friend and to us all his servants life everlastingSweeney known largely for her 'live art', has developed a strong counter position to Knox's photographs in the shape of 'Portrait of a Tin Soldier', a sculpture mounted onto a blank canvas. The sculpture, made from recycled metal thread with cotton, highlights the former position of the tin soldier in society and its disposability. In this context, allied to Knox's images of the War veteran, the tin soldier becomes a symbol of war alongside the attendant position of victorious hero. Sweeney shows the fragility of the memory of war (we are after all, 60 plus years on from the end of World War II) by displaying photocopied images of the piece, scattered around the base of the sculpture. Though the sculpture is reclaimed metal – the metal given a second chance, the paper copies will eventually return to organic matter. By choosing understatement in this exhibition, the two artists have allowed visitors the space and time to interact in a respectful manner. I found the exhibition to be moving and thought provoking. Andrew TaylorPoet-in-residence, Loft Space Gallery.Further information on the upcoming projects at the Loft Space, contact Jo Derbyshire (Curator of Loft Space Project) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07946353251. Viewing is by appointment (www.joderbyshire.co.uk).