It’s FRIDGE – not Frieze – at Chelsea

“The students came up with the exhibition title,” Matt Gee tells me as he takes me on a tour of the Chelsea Centre’s latest exhibition.

“It’s a play on words (off the back of the Frieze Art Fair, which students visited last year) but the fridge itself – the actual fridge that’s on display as part of the exhibition – is a bit of a cabinet of curiosities; a metaphor for this group show.”

The eponymous FRIDGE

Matt – Programme Area Manager for Fine Art at the Chelsea Centre – talks me through some of the artefacts that hide inside the eponymous refridgerator…there’s a CD that belongs to one of the artists who also makes music; a small print by another; a small plastic model of a human heart.

This is FRIDGE, the interim group show by students on Morley’s Access to HE, HNC, HND and BA art courses at the newly-refurbished Chelsea Centre for the Creative Industries, which ran until yesterday.

It took place as the first major show to use the full length and breadth of The Hub, the new exhibitions and events space that’s perhaps the most obvious legacy of the £3m improvement programme that took place in Summer 2023.

News has a kind of mystery…

On my tour I meet Katia Egorushkina, an HNC Fine Art student whose tryptych “News has a kind of mystery” is on display. Her canvases are clippings from the Financial Times with headlines such as “Alarm mounts over Moscow’s hostile stance towards west” and “How CEOs will spend Christmas”.

Egorushkina’s work contrasts this backdrop with sketches of scenes that contrast vividly with the written word – it’s that juxtaposition that she’s seeking to highlight.

There’s the juxtaposition of the headline about Putin’s army juxtaposed against what the artist describes as the reality of that army: two men, alcoholics she says, perhaps former prisoners, definitely down at heel.

She chose the FT not just because of its “neo-liberal” credentials, but also for an aesthetic reason: “I like the orange/pink colour”.

Matt points out other works that catch the eye. There’s sculpture, painting, print, and genre-defying works too.

One of my favourite is a complicated network of cables and devices that I interpret as an observation of the complex and interconnected world we live in.

Over Connectivity Causing Disconnection, by Christine Taylor, Concrete, plaster and packaging

“This work, by Christine Taylor, is an experiment in plaster cast,” explains Matt. Sure enough, as I look more closely I can see that many of the ‘devices’ are actually plaster models.

“It’s a nice demonstration of the uniqueness of the Morley offer too,” says Matt. “Christine has really been enjoying visiting Pelham Hall [the Waterloo Centre’s home of sculpture] south of the river, as well as studying with us here in Chelsea.”

Save the date: 20 June 2024

FRIDGE was an interim show…a chance to ‘dress rehearse’ for Chelsea’s big moment: the centrewide End of Year Show, due to launch on 20 June 2024.

On the evidence of these mid-year works, I’m excited already – watch this space.

FRIDGE highlights reel