I have no idea who Mr G.G.Hines is. And yet I am standing surrounded by junk staring at his black leather passport holder. I am transfixed by it; lost in reveries about who he was, where he travelled to and what his handwriting – neat, confident but not fussy – says about him. I am also wondering how his passport came to be here, and the answer to that begins with Dan Tobin Smith.
The photographer’s new installation is inspired by sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick who termed the endless clutter that builds up in the course of our lives as “kipple.” The first law of kipple – which lends its name to the show – is that “kipple drives out non-kipple” and this certainly seems to be the case in Dan’s east London studio, where the path through piles of colour-coded clutter is very much in the minority. The kipple has taken over the main floor space; it has colonised the window sills and snakes up the stairs and off towards the toilets.
It’s a study of chaos and order – or rather chaos made order – as Dan has painstakingly rearranged the vast amounts of objects sent in after his public call for kipple. The colour-coding is so accurate – with hues segueing almost imperceptibly into each other – that it seems for a second like it might be an elaborate hoax, where Dan and his team have assembled white goods and simply spray-painted them.
But look closer and the scale of this artistic achievement becomes clear. You don’t so much look at the piece as gorge on its details. A copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey, a statuette of a hedgehog, an ornate gravy boat, a slinky and a mini menorah all crop up in a small two-foot stretch from green to gold.
It’s amazing how quickly your mind starts to try and make sense of it all, creating connections and suggesting narratives as a coping mechanism. It’s fun to let your eye rove and your brain starts telling its own story; from an electric pink cowboy hat, to a feather boa to a boxing glove – a hen-do turned nasty perhaps?
Last week I stuck my neck out and said this would be one of the best shows of the London Design Festival. I was wrong, or rather I was too cautious. It’s one of the best shows of the year.
The First Law of Kipple is at Dan Tobin Smith Studio, 52c Whitmore Road, N1 5QG. It runs until 21 September.
- Graphic designer Anne Büttner is drawn towards all-things bold, clashing and experimental
- Graphic designer Marie Ducrocq's future-facing aesthetics are supported by thorough research
- The poet laureate of Twitter Brian Bilston creates four new poems from Adobe Stock images
- Photographer Daniel Stier on how he transforms “cheap mass-produced things” into art
- Fragility, despair and boredom are the pillars to Madeleine Pfull’s paintings of elderly women
- Go on a quest for cheesy chips with Sarah Hingley’s choose your own adventure zine
- How Pelle Cass creates his jarring “still time-lapse” images
- Mozilla gives Firefox a new look that goes beyond the logo
- Spotify wants you to listen to more podcasts, so it's redesigned its app
- Say a sustainable hello to the world’s first fully compostable trainer
- Illustrator Faye Moorhouse has made a trilogy of zines about her cat
- Applications are now open for The Graduates 2019!