October 27, 2016 - March 12, 2017

Nathaniel Rackowe: Parasolstice - Black Shed Expanded


Nathaniel Rackowe: 'Black Shed Expanded', 2014/2016. Timber Shed, Fluorescent lights and fittings, Bitumen, Paint, Steel. 240 x 220 x 220cm. © and Courtesy of the artist.


Parasol Unit
Foundation for Contemporary Art

Parasolstice - Winter Light 2016/17: Nathaniel Rackowe: Black Shed Expanded

27 October 2016 - 12 March 2017
Preview: Wednesday 26 October, 6-8 pm


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road / London / N1 7RW
020 7490 7373 / info@parasol-unit.org


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present an extraordinary light sculpture Black Shed Expanded, 2014/16, by London-based artist Nathaniel Rackowe. This installation is part of the Parasolstice - Winter Light series, for which Parasol unit invites a contemporary artist to create a work that addresses the phenomenon of light.
Displayed on the foundation's terrace during the winter months, Nathaniel Rackowe's large-scale installation of an urban shed structure is seemingly mid-explosion: turned upside-down, its contours pulled apart, exposed innards illuminated. The wooden shed painted in black bitumen, emanates an alien light from the white strip bulbs inside, which refract against the acid yellow painted walls of its interior. The structure appears to expand with the force of light from within. Rackowe says, "I thought it would be interesting to take the humble shed and elevate it so it can rise up and challenge architecture and also deconstruct it to the point where you are forced to re-read it." Although a direct reference to the London suburbs, where garden sheds are frequently seen, the work also encompasses a more universal impact as it depicts a familiar, domestic structure.
Rackowe's practice often combines the elements of light and movement which are crucial components of his works. Essentially inspired by the urban environment, the primary impetus behind his works is the growth and shifting nature of a city. He uses recognisable urban infrastructure or mass industrial products, such as scaffolding poles, breeze blocks and in this case, a garden shed. After deconstructing them, he builds the structure back together using the element of light, which allows him to explore further these raw materials. The intention is to recreate the experience of being in and moving through an urban environment with particular emphasis on the space in between where there is a negative and positive fluctuation of city lights. Each material he selects "carries specific associations," which become an iteration of itself through his distortion of their intended function.
Inspired by artists such as Vladimir Tatlin, Richard Serra, and Gordon Matta-Clark, all figureheads of modernist and deductive sculpture, his works pay particular homage to artists Donald Judd and Dan Flavin especially. Similarly, Rackowe uses mass-manufactured industrial products and the element of light to create contemporary monuments that give life to our urban reality.