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Journal of Architecture, 2018

Stephen Walker reviews A Nodding Acquaintance exhibited at Edge Arts in ‘Parallel (of Life and) Architecture; Not Quite Architecture: Writing Around Alison and Peter Smithson’.

“Whilst Warren and Mosley’s installation included a timber framework that quotes from the Smithsons’ abstract cluster ideograms, the size, intention and material realisation of this framework was such that it began to undermine the Smithsons’ mega-structural propositions with a more delicate, human scale. In this sense, Warren and Mosley’s framework drew upon Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ‘minus objects’ such as Structure for Chatting while Standing Up (Struttura per parlare in piedi, 1965–66) in its detailed attention to the dynamics of standing, leaning and sitting. […] Described as the location for a possible street party, the gallery space was hung with lengths of Union Jack bunting which had been painted over in ghostly white, through which the familiar flag was barely legible. These moves both echoed and troubled the Smithsons’ own considerations of ‘Englishness’ as these were in play in the post-war era, updated for a Brexit-era uncertainty. A further unsettling was provided by a live-feed taken from an overhead camera and relayed to a large screen lying horizontally on the floor, catching the viewer in a disconcerting, disembodied and looped spectacle of their own presence. With an economy of means that set this apart from the other two installations, A Nodding Acquaintance played on the promise, awkwardness and ambivalence of the cluster concept and the notions of identity it supported.”

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