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Clark Keatley

19 April - 18 May, 2024

The sprawling dock’s wind turbines project fanning shadows over neighbouring terrace roofs. In their height they would dominate the landscape if it wasn’t for the cranes towering over them and the endless streets at their feet. They lift containers from the 380-metre-long ships arriving into the docks on a perpetual rota. Once in a while a crane operator misjudges the release timings and a dropped steel box breaks the night with the blast of a wave dumping a ship in a slate sea. These containers move the contents of the world; Japanese superbikes, polyurethane sex toys, dismembered 18th-century farm buildings and devices that wirelessly sync with their manufacturer’s servers for no apparent reason.

Vintage Emulator, Clark Keatley (2022)

Daniel Benjamin Gallery presents drawings and sculpture by London-based artist Clark Keatley.

Works within the gallery combine to relay experiences of the built environment within a
British vernacular. Familiar terrace streets are populated by figures in acts of mundane routine or states of quiet idleness. 19th-Century housing and its role in reinforcing social strata is used as a backdrop to contemporary feelings of aspiration and disenfranchisement. The works act as retellings of insignificant events or half-remembered observations, the visual equivalent of anecdotes.

Prams, cars and fitness equipment regularly feature in the drawings - commodities that allude to notions of status anxiety, taste and how this is played out through consumerism. Clues to the logistical networks and supply chains which make this consumerism possible also appear. Fictional objects populate the landscape, things which look unfamiliar yet plausible. These inventions by the artist are sometimes extracted and rendered as sculptures which in turn find their way back into images through their use as bespoke lay-figures. Sculpture within the gallery provides the viewer with an entry point to the drawings, fleshing out scale, colour and material on a physical register.

Clark Keatley (b.1987) Lives and works in London. He studied at Camberwell College of Arts and Royal Academy Schools.

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