Metal Jaws And Hydraulic Machines: James Capper, Prototype Reviewed

James Capper - Prototype, CGP London ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 30 months ago
Metal Jaws And Hydraulic Machines: James Capper, Prototype Reviewed James Capper - Prototype, CGP London 4
Giant jaws that look both utilitarian and terrifying. Photo Tabish Khan

Spanning across two gallery spaces in Southwark Park, CGP London has put on some good exhibitions in the past but this time around they've got something special. It's an exhibition dedicated to London born artist James Capper, with his unique array of heavy construction inspired sculpture.

We first came across, and were impressed by, Capper's work at the Saatchi Gallery's New Order exhibition and again at Hannah Barry gallery in Peckham. But this time he has a much larger space to work with and it's great to see how his sculptures have evolved.

The exhibition at 'The Gallery', towards the centre of the park, is a more traditional gallery space with preparatory sketches by Capper along the walls; but the room is dominated by a spidery hydraulic machine that looks like it could suddenly rear up if any visitor strays too close. With its pointed limbs and numerous wires it looks more like something off a movie set than a sculpture.

While over at the 'Dilston Grove' space, towards the south end of the park, is a long room filled with the smaller creations we're used to seeing, which all sit on stone plinths that look like they've been chiselled using the very tools that sit atop them.

The latest creation is at the far end of the room, a working machine on a pedestal that it has carved away at. It looks precariously balanced, as if some more hammering away at its own stand would bring it crashing down in a rather undignified case of machine suicide.

Capper's work is both playful and fun, but it also questions how we view art — should it serve no utilitarian purpose? Can it be touched and interacted with? As well as the role of machines is society, how some are admired like exotic cars while industrial machines simply serve a purpose. Capper takes something functional looking and turns it into fine art, thereby challenging the status quo and forcing us to question how we value machines.

James Capper — Prototype is on at CGP London, Gallery by the pool, 1 Park Approach, Southwark Park SE16 2UA until 6 December. Entrance to both venues is free and the exhibition is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am-4pm.

For more art in Southwark, see the amazing world of M.C. Escher, delightful drawings at Jerwood gallery, and a new take on Pop art plus dirt and rubbish at Tate Modern.

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This spiderbot-like creation looks like it would be more at home on the set of the next Transformers movie than in a gallery. Photo Tabish Khan
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This working machine has been slowly chiselling away at its own pedestal. Photo Tabish Khan
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The full array of sculptures in one of the gallery spaces. Photo Tabish Khan

Last Updated 02 November 2015