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Marion Coutts, Library, 2017 | © Marion Coutts / Courtesy of the artist and Tintype
Marion Coutts, Library, 2017 | © Marion Coutts / Courtesy of the artist and Tintype
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How Marion Coutts Frames the Encounter of Art in New London Show

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 15 March 2017
After the success of her award-winning memoir, The Iceberg, Marion Coutts returns to her artistic roots for her first exhibition in eight years, at London’s Tintype gallery.

Known for her multi-media installations that incorporate sculpture, photographs, drawings and text, the artist, writer and musician brings together new works for her show ‘Aiming or Hitting’. As with much of Coutts’ work, the act of the encounter is paramount and here, she presents a combination of works that address the physicality of an image and our engagement with it.

Installation view, Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting, 2017 | Photo: Cameron Leadbetter
Installation view, Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting, 2017 | Photo: Cameron Leadbetter
Marion Coutts, Library, 2017 | © Marion Coutts / Courtesy of the artist and Tintype
Marion Coutts, Library, 2017 | © Marion Coutts / Courtesy of the artist and Tintype

Coutts explores the photographic form – both as a documenter, but also as a sculptural entity to capture an action or period of time. Above a black strip-curtain that acts as a spatial and conceptual divider, paper planes travel across the gallery wall, but are caught in motion by the edge of the photographic print that depicts the act. Here, the three dimensional becomes a two-dimensional snapshot; the sculpture is flattened into a screen-based encounter.

Installation view, Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting, 2017 | Photo: Cameron Leadbetter
Installation view, Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting, 2017 | Photo: Cameron Leadbetter
Marion Coutts, Cartouche, 2017 | © Marion Coutts / Courtesy of the artist and Tintype
Marion Coutts, Cartouche, 2017 | © Marion Coutts. Courtesy the artist and Tintype

Other works directly focus on the encounter of ‘looking’. Boy Looks at Rock on Top of Another Rock (2017), is a photograph of the back of a young boy as he looks at a work of art by Fischli and Weiss. Coutts has cropped into the scene so we don’t have any direct visual reference to what the boy is looking at, other than what is indicated in the title. Here, you’re made overtly aware of your action of looking, while highlighting the cyclical nature of looking at art.

Marion Coutts, 'Boy Looking at Rock on Top of Another Rock', 2017 | © Marion Coutts. Courtesy the artist and Tintype
Marion Coutts, Boy Looking at Rock on Top of Another Rock, 2017 | © Marion Coutts. Courtesy the artist and Tintype
Installation view, Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting, 2017 | Photo: Cameron Leadbetter
Installation view, Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting, 2017 | Photo: Cameron Leadbetter

All too often the sheer existence of art detracts from what it means to actually engage with an artwork, what type of response it can instigate. Hopefully Coutts reminds us that we can’t be indifferent and that the experience of art is as crucial as the work itself.

Marion Coutts: Aiming or Hitting is at Tintype, 107 Essex Road, London, N1 2SL from March 10 to April 13, 2017.