I don’t know about you, but I’m always happy after seeing art exhibitions, even the ones I didn’t like. I never felt I wasted my time. But there was no need to look on the bright side for English sculptor Bill Woodrow’s brilliant exhibition at the Royal Academy. I initially went to the RA to see the architecture show ‘Sensing Spaces’. Sensing Spaces being shorter than I expected, I decided to fit in the Bill Woodrow exhibition at the RA Burlington Gardens (the same building as the Pace Gallery).
I was in for a treat. I was especially impressed by Woodrow’s cut-outs, but I also enjoyed the rest of his works which included materials as diverse as bronze and honey. The RA show is effectively a retrospective, as the curator included works ranging from the artist’s fresh-from-school period to a work specifically created for the exhibition. The pieces are arranged chronologically, with a consistent theme being Woodrow’s ability to disassemble, arrange, and reassemble e.g. parts of a bicycle or a television, and to deconstruct, reconstruct and invent artworks.
Woodrow is most known for his cut-outs, in which he cuts pieces out of domestic appliances to create new objects. The most memorable cut-outs I saw at the RA show were a bird carved out of a domestic appliance and a beetle cut out of a teapot. You need to see the show to grasp Woodrow’s attention to detail and poetic inventiveness. To me, Bill Woodrow (born 1948) is a genius in the vein of Anish Kapoor and Tony Cragg.
The Bill Woodrow exhibition is at the Royal Academy until February 16, 2014.