Gnosis is a graffiti installation created by artist Raymond Harmon (a.k.a RSH) in a warehouse near Hackney Wick. If we were to describe it more accurately, we’d call it an abstract expressionist graffiti-bombing of an installation, and an art project which is spontaneous in its occupancy and autonomous in its execution. Whilst the idea that abstract or autonomous graffiti and paintings in urban environments have lent themselves to concepts and processes assimilated with traditional forms of contemporary art (further still, on canvases on gallery walls) is not a new one, Harmon’s work voices it encouragingly. 3D paper creations protrude from the wall on the floor and framed 3D canvassed works seep from one wall through to the right angle of the next. Autonomous lines, marks and semi-doodles fill the walls, a free-standing door and the empty floor of this industrial disused warehouse, its roof partly absent, making it a perfect guinea pig for such a project.
Harmon intended for the project to provide a bit of colourful relief from the Olympic madness, describing it as “An exhibition that gives back to the community with a palette of bright colours and natural light. A temporary autonomous zone of free expression in the middle of an area dominated by corporate interests, helicopters, security details and sports shenanigans.” It’s a nice idea, and it certainly works in the way of offering an alternative to the rule-clad commissions of most Olympic art projects, but the content of Gnosis – in it’s free expression and its contribution towards new abstract expressionist art in the urban environment – might have shone brighter had it not made association with London’s main event which, after all, clouds one’s mind at the mere mention of the word.
An impressive project none the less. Concentrate on the process, form and colour of this show and you’ll catch his autonomous drift.
‘Gnosis’ by Raymond Harmon at a 4000 foot disused warehouse, 75 Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, London, E9 5LH
27th July – 5th August 2012, open daily 12pm-6pm