Hobson’s Choice: Antiquity Bonk at The Sunday Painter

23 March 2012 By
Hobson's Choice: Ben Wheele at The Sunday Painter

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

10 March – 8 April 2012

1st Floor, 12 – 16 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL

Friday – Sunday, 12.00 – 6.00pm, or by appointment


The Sunday Painter is an artist-led gallery and studio complex in Peckham set up in 2008 and now at the centre of the bourgeoning and vibrant art scene in South London.  The new show by artist Ben Wheele – Antiquity Bonk – takes the farcical but productive idea of a fictitious conversation between the artist and a museum catalogue, in which they play a game together which ends in the death of the work and the artist as the basis for a quite peculiar and interesting exhibition.  Returning to a well-trodden strategy of surrealism, displays that allude to conversations between objects and the systems which display and mediate them is a trait in a number of shows at the moment…

One enters a blank and airless lobby in which a letter is mounted on the wall with the grandeur of a museum text: `… something’s happened to my work, the prints have all gotten infected, sculptures, everything, even the room. Ruined!’  The scene is set as one then enters the ‘real’ exhibition – a sickly Rocco world of pastiche and a hand-made set for Wheele’s ceramics and digitally created paintings which depict a garish world of alien characters, fake objects and antiques, and gore.  To say too much about this exhibition would ruin a first-hand experience which is enjoyably bizarre; I would simply recommend you make a trip to see it!  Raising questions about traditional modes of exhibition display, about the conversations that are opened up between collections of things shown together, and especially the problematic relationship between text and object, this completely immersive and eccentric exhibition is well worth a visit!

Image: Ben Wheele, Antiquity Bonk, installation view at The Sunday Painter, 2012. Courtesy the artist and the Gallery.

Let us know what you think at membership@contemporaryartsociety.org