Babak Ghazi / Gareth Jones at Raven Row

Foreheads and paraphernalia. Presented as the collected evidence of work and workings from the last 15 years or so, visiting this show felt like a privalige and and intrusion. The work of each artist is very different with Jones presenting an assemblage of objects and manipulations of found materials, and Ghazi presenting an extensive archive of papers and books. Yet each felt like an insight into the thinkings and working outs of the artists.
Jones uses everyday objects and materials in his constructions. They populate the spaces downstairs and are arranged by the artist. There seemed to be a restless enquiry, an obsessive musing on formal forms of square, circle and triangle. Each is played out directly or abstractly in domestic materials, suggesting autobiography, collection, and melancholy nostalgia.
Ghazi strips his work back to the archive, exhaustively labeled and unified in grey crates or box files. Given the opportunity to browse someone else’s interested and collection, you start to notice the subjects you are drawn to, so I felt I was examining my own train of thought as much as someone else’s. There is a voyeurism to this exploration, where every cutting and collection is rewarded with its own labeled file, so some are stuffed full of sketches, cuttings, books or photographs, whilst some contain one lonely image or DVD.
Just as I was getting really excited by the wonder of this openness and honesty I remembered that the exhibition notes talk about the fiction and contrivance of the work too, and that jolt of possibility sent me off to ponder what the work was trying to tell me after all, all be it in a different language. I wouldn’t mind speaking either. My eyes and my brain have been treated to a banquet.

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