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     Review in Culture 24


 Preece Release







LIMBER GYM is a representation

LIMBER GYM has been well researched and comes with many impeccable references.

LIMBER GYM is furnished to a modest standard with devices for self-improvement.

LIMBER GYM will be decorated throughout with meanings of the highest quality.

A great deal of attention has been paid to the installation of fixtures and fittings.

LIMBER GYM is a serious attempt to lose weight by looking. This exercise in style over content allows form and content to tussle in a friendly manner.

LIMBER GYM multi-tasks: it exercises itself, attempting to reveal ‘meaning’ as decoration whilst confronting the concept that art is ‘sophisticated pointing’ undermined only by inexpert practitioners and receivers who misrepresent. Multi-tasking facilities are not provided: members are expected to provide their own.

All intellectual exercises are to be discouraged. Justification machines are not provided and anyone trying to explain their-self will be made to do strenuous workouts.

There will be examples of experimental works carried out by some of our members and posters in pointing to help beginners.

LIMBER GYM has a special area devoted to ‘no questions, no answers, no explanations, where clients can exercise their imagination. This area is only open at the weekends: dedicated to anyone who has difficulty taking time off work. Any questions raised conserning identity and gender will result in exclusion from the Gym, as will any reference to French philosophy or the ‘Arcades Project’

LIMBER GYM has exclusive use of a ‘tent of self-consciousness’ where students can experience at first hand the pitfalls of exercising what is called ‘the personal’ by expressing themselves too strenuously which may cause harm. Here you may learn that certain subjects, such as ‘The cat being sick on the table’, are not suitable subject for exercise treatment.

LIMBER GYM is committed to open access: there will be something for everyone signing up but only on three days a week due to current economic conditions.


LIMBER GYM at the Meter Room


This show is a response to the space at Meter Room and an opportunity to make an installation from the varied work that I have been exploring over the past 20 years together with new works made specifically with the space in mind.

In the early 90s I became interested in the irony of the conversion of office and derelict warehouse spaces into fitness centres selling the idea of human perfection: a dystopian vision of perfection. This was analogous with my own experience: always exercising: practising to improve: a utilitopian dream of a future: an illusion of running or jogging to keep up, not of walking through life.

The general moral panic and anxiety about what we are doing to ourselves and to the planet infects every aspect of our lives, peaking in the development of the position of Health and Safety Officer: arbiter of the imaginative process: devoid of any thought other than that of watching ones’ back, creating a world of mad management.

Now art must be safe and academic.

This resonates with certain feelings I had about the oddity of human consciousness. Like Schopenhauer describing consciousness as an aberration, I had come to think that it had no function in the great sphere of things: that knowledge had no function beyond our personal immediate and expedient need for it, thus making the world an extension of ourselves.

That consciousness is obsessed with concepts of improvement seems inherent:  a neurosis that might be characterised as madness if it were not that it appears to be the norm. Is it folly not to know, to be fat, not to be creative, not to be competitive, not to improve? Is it not good enough just to be? The Christian obsession seeks out fault and piles agony upon agony. The politics of change, of increased productivity infests our life.  

 The work in this show is a natural progression from previous works I have shown concerning the acquisition of knowledge that I characterised as ‘Library Steps’: the need for an expanding archive of all known material and the consequent need for ever more ingenious devices to access this information. This need is currently reduced to typing a few words, if you know what they are, into a little box and pressing the return key. The result is much more information than you can deal with, much of it irrelevant and distracting, limited in its use by our personal limitations of knowledge, focus and desire. The result appears to be a ‘Library of Babel”, to borrow from Jorge Luis Borges.

LP 24 July 2011



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