Contemporary art can often seem like a competition to see which artist can use the brightest colours in their work. So how does the monochromatic work of Norwegian duo Lello and Arnell stack up in comparison?
They are a duo in the vein of the Chapman brothers; their art is very tongue-in-cheek with an overarching political message, but with greater subtlety.
Their first solo exhibition is at Beers Lambert Contemporary, who have recently relocated from the fading light of Vyner Street to just around the corner from Old Street station.
In an enjoyable take on Yin and Yang, one artist took a black paintbrush and the other white. They then proceeded to commence battle to populate a circular canvas resulting in a greyish sludge — an obvious yet engaging commentary on life itself.
Lello and Arnell are experts at turning utilitarian everyday objects into something sinister. An array of baseball bats painted black are arranged into a dystopian sunrise, while in “Those Eyes; They Follow Me” two black splotches on grey carpet follow you around the room. Worse still, they appear as if the eyeballs have been gouged out and this makes them all the more creepy.
The pinnacle of their creative inventions is when a chair is simply hung upside down and embellished with a few swipes of white paint. It’s suddenly and jarringly transformed into a looming Nazi monster.
In this show Lello and Arnell have shown that simplicity can breed ominous art that’s both engaging and unsettling.
Lello // Arnell – Echo Chamber is on at Beers Lambert Contemporary, 1 Baldwin Street, EC1V 9NU until 12 August. Admission is free.