Turner Prize-winner Simon Starling's latest curatorial venture is a 'Best Of' expo from the last 20 years at Camden Art Centre
How do you depict time? Simon Starling - the Turner Prize winner who built a sculpture, turned it into the boat and back into a sculpture - has given it a good try in the exhibition he's curated at Camden Arts Centre. 'Never The Same River (possible Futures, Probable Pasts)' consists of a puzzle of artworks all shown at past exhibitions at Camden over the past 20 years. All the pieces are in the positions they were originally exhibited. It's a fascinating concept beautifully executed. Like a sci-fi story, in this exhibition of exhibitions, different moments in history run at the same time.
There's an awesome selection of artists in the show - which together form an interesting reflection of Starling's work. Mike Nelson's installation sculpture was originally created at his residency in the space in 1998. It is the largest piece and is truly awesome (a fascinating foil to Coral Reef currently on show at Tate Britain). Alongside Nelson, there are contemporary artists like Francis Alys, Christian Boltaksni, Des Hughes, Susan Hiller and Michael Stevenson alongside works from iconic names from the past - Henry Moore, William Moris, Paul Thek and Hilma af Klint. The normal hierarchy of cultural objects goes out the window. A Francis Bacon painting is in a hidden corner. Francis Upritchard's glass vitrine containing her strange sloth sculpture cuts the first room in half.
The £1 pamphlet that accompanies the exhibition is as fascinating as the art - a short essay that touches on temporal instability, Buckminster Fullter, the Haldron Collider and the Delorean from Back to the Future within the context of art. This show as Starling notes is "a collage of hard fact, rigorous research, hazy memory, word-of-mouth rumour and speculation" - and in its own personal, academic way makes time and memory concrete.
Simon Starling: Never The Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts), until 20 February 2011 at Camden's Art Centre