Gabriel Kuri: All probability resolves into form
- Neil Cooper
- 23 April 2014
Kuri's survivalist sculpture show, part of Glasgow International, puts a quietly political twist on theories of human nature
In case of emergency, natural disaster, nuclear fallout or biblical engulfment, Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri is probably a very good man to have on your side. By stocking up on blankets, fire extinguishers, boxes of matches, bottles of water and assorted toiletries, then assembling them in assorted sculptural show-and-tells on silver-blanketed pallets in the town-house corridors of the Common Guild, Kuri takes a practical and possibly life-saving survival kit, then reassembles it in a way that suggests it's an in-storage archive with everything in its place and a place for everything, even as it awaits a situation in which it can be used.
Downstairs, alongside the two pallet-based pieces, a row of metal compartments containing folded-up and piled-up blankets resembles both a charity shop and a call-centre storeroom, the array of unopened goods on the stairs themselves seemingly awaiting the cleaner’s arrival. Upstairs, a network of primary-coloured tables and rolled-up sleeping bags gives the air of an adventure playground sleepover.
With a title that gives a nod to David Hume's 1738 A Treatise of Human Nature, which suggested that ‘all knowledge resolves itself into probability’, Kuri’s collection of six new constructions puts nuts and bolts on hard theory by giving it a quietly political twist. This is made clear in subtle ways by the class divide hinted at across the two floors. The show’s function as a form of activism will be made explicit only when it closes, however, when the found materials on display will find their true calling by being donated to the GLAD Action Network and the Unity Centre, Glasgow, two all too real support centres for asylum seekers and migrants in Scotland, making Kuri’s ordered arrangement a lifesaver on every level.
The Common Guild, Glasgow, until Sat 7 Jun.