In Lara Favaretto’s new exhibition at the Tramway I was struck immediately by the striking image of a car wash brush freed from the confines of its daily existence and dynamically thrown into an artistic situation. This created an engaging concept.
Something so familiar to us, that we have the habit of viewing in the controlled environment of a car wash, is found in the most unexpected of settings, a gallery, being suggested as an object of apparent beauty. The familiarity of this subject matter gives an immediate accessibility to the exhibition. The surprising context draws you in and makes you want to discover more.
The exhibition space at the Tramway is staggeringly large. Once a facet of Glasgow’s principal tram terminus and approximately 1030 square metres, it demands a great deal of the artist.
Favaretto fills the white space magnificently with a series of over thirty multicoloured car wash brushes lining the walls. These machines, arranged in distinct sets around the room, make up eighteen of the nineteen towering works of the exhibition. With their bright colours and swirling movements, the brushes twirl like great ballerinas around you. This is not just a work of art, but a spectacle to be watched and engaged with.
The machines rotate at different speeds; some static, some slow, others frenzied. The variety of their movements creates a superb array of texture and allied with the wind and noise they create makes for a mesmerising show. This multi-sensory force gives the exhibition a universal appeal and immediately involves everyone around it.
Beyond Favaretto’s capacity to entertain, there are many more elements within her exhibition to be uncovered. Wit and irony are both features that Favaretto clearly aims to bring to her work, and she leads us to recognise ourselves within her work. This alters our perspective from originally one of detached enjoyment to one of self-examination.
This introspection is given a menacing edge with the concealed element of decay in the exhibition. At the centre of the brushes sit three cubes constructed solely of compressed confetti. These gradually lose their form with each gust of wind created by the works themselves and the public. The car wash brushes also progressively corrode the iron slabs supporting them. The constant self corrosion of the artwork depicts an inevitability of deterioration and adds an uncomfortable aspect to Favaretto’s initially light-hearted work.
Lara Favaretto has succeeded in creating an exhibition that is simultaneously aesthetically enticing, whimsical and threatening; a masterful accomplishment.