20th June – 1st July 2018

Alla Molova
Chong Det

‘Every artist, like every scientist is looking for a white crow. Each time they engage in their practice they chase the mythical beast’ 1.

For the next exhibition, Campbell Works is delighted to present new works by artists Alla Malova and Chong Det. Malova a Russain by birth, currently lives and works between London and Geneva, while Det, a nomadic ‘non dom’ will together feed on a collision of itinerant trajectories. There is never just one understanding of something much like there is not just one white crow. You can never have anything but misunderstanding. Meaning can never be fully obtained because the common origin is none.

Working with and for each other Malova and Det have created a ‘body’ of work that is not in any way a collaboration, but more of an ‘assist’ with each others practice. In this mutually shared field of interest, embodiment, laughter and occupation are made concrete. A sculptor’s primary medium is space, that is simultaneously continuous and transforming, the mere process of sharing a space and working alongside other affords the carving out of an expanse that is a breeding ground for objects, physical and mental. The objects thus created, grant a diversion from the ring-road of language into the middle ground of in-betweenness of experience, understanding and imagination. They are a form of subjective emotional cartography that translate spiritual into material, scientific into artistic, private into public and back.

‘the artwork is not the object and it’s not an understanding of the object, it’s an affective constellation and a map of intensity’.2 it has no origin. It plots trajectories and whispers lines of flight, sometimes it’s a murmur, others more of a mutter but it can also be a plain mumble because its only chance to succeed is to slip away from the intended significance. It expresses reason that is adventure, ‘the indefinite lacks nothing: above all it doesn’t lack determination. It is a determination of becoming…’.3


Lives and works in London. Working in urban public spaces with found materials, iphones and food stuffs, Det explores the etymology of street vernacular and art as protest. Currently appropriating forms and gestures associated with civil disobedience, activism and anti-social behaviour his work asks how we might reconsider such issues as citizenship, social exclusion, and sexual politics. Developing themes of cheekiness and embodiment, Det stresses a pantomimic aspect of actions. Defined as ‘the art or technique of conveying emotions, feelings etc. by gestures without speech’ or ‘a play or entertainment in gesture, often to the accompaniment of music’, with the mute aspect being particularly important. One might add that pantomime also implies a vaudeville, comedic, slapstick, low humour with sexual content. Also that the (Cynic) pantomimic gesture is exaggerated for effect so that the student, failing to reach the master’s level, manages to reach the actual desired level of attainment. This exaggeration is perhaps what gives a comic air but that laughter is also a key force – the visceral undoing of knotted pretension, the cheekiness that challenges the lie. ‘Only in the last few centuries has “cheeky” gained negative connotations. Prior to this it meant a productive aggressivity, letting fly at the enemy: “brave, bold, lively, plucky, untamed, ardent”. The devitalization of culture is mirrored by the history of this word’ (Sloterdijk, 1987).


A recent graduate from the Royal College of Art with an MA in sculpture, she is currently undertaking a PhD research degree also at RCA. A question that underlies Malova’s practice is that of blindness as expressed by the action of not seeing. Making the salient features of the invisible visible without ever quite resolving form, the resulting output of the negative sum of sculptural scenarios. Embodiment and becoming ‘something other’ are manifest by casting processes that reveal the voids and interiors of found forms. Elements of history, architecture and dream combine to embed unpredictability and mutability. In recent works, Malova has filled the voids within polystyrene packing materials forming skeletal casts that memorialise the absence of the technology they protected, spirit houses for hi-fi and flat-screen TVs. For Cheeking Assisters, Malova will cast in lead, a grotesquely oversized oar from a canoe. An oar is made to move a boat through water, a tool that gives direction to a journey, but cast in this heaviest of metal becomes an architectural waymarker, a blunt instrument in a sea of possibility.

Sculpture is my medium of choice because of the possibilities it opens as a Bermuda Triangle of shared imagination. It is a slippery ground, where “object’s misbehaviour” takes you for a ride down the rabbit hole into the “life-world of mute objects”.4 The only way of finding focus in this “terra incognita” is through loss of orientation. I am in the business of real estate for possible futures and alternative realities, constantly mapping out coordinates for one’s renewed beingness in the world.

1. Alla Malova ref: Sophie’s World:  Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World, New York: farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2007, p. 508.
2. Alla Malova – ref:Gilles Deleuze, essays critical and clinical, translated by smith, d.,w., and greco a., m,  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota press, 1997, p.64.
3. Gilles Deleuze, essays critical and clinical, translated by smith, d.,w., and greco a., m., Minneapolis: University of Minnesota press, 1997, p.65.
4. Charles Ray Sculpture 1997-2014, June 15 – September 28, 2014, Kunstmuseum Basel, exhibition catalogue, p. 31.

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