Corvée exhibition by Sam Griffin, London
The term ’Blue-sky thinking’ isn’t what you’d normally associate with an artist known for his intricate pencil drawings, but Sam Griffin’s new exhibition is closer to the corporate world than meets the eye. Reflecting on office environments, Griffin’s latest body of work is an abstract and thoughtful presentation of drawings, sculptures and readymades.
Holding fort at London’s Gallery Vela until January 2011,’Corvée’ (the name comes the medieval reference to the free labour required by a lord or landowner of his tenants under the then feudal system) looks at the particular bits of adornment that are put into office spaces to soften them up and give an otherwise sterile environment a more humane atmosphere.
Griffin cites ’office art’ as ’commonly seen as the geometric abstract shapes that frame reception walls’, and his pieces point to how office embellishments perfectly serve the remit of large corporations, pushing their messages of achievement, success and boundary-pushing, when in reality these images of a corporate paradise are just an illusion - our sole purpose of being in an office is purely to work.
In his study of this particular phenomenon, even generic office plants often found lining lobbies have a part to play. Some of the sculptures in the show have living plants inside them which, according to Griffin, are a hopeless nod to the Garden of Eden.