'Wassall & Lohe' @ Fiumano Clase

Laura Brown, The National Student, December 7, 2017

Combining references to delicate water lilies and dynamic dadaism, 'Wassall and Lohe' at Fiumano Clase presents visually-contrasting works by two artists to celebrate the joining of Fiumano Projects and Orion Contemporary.


Throughout the exhibition of works by Nicole Wassall and Herman Lohe, representational images of nature and abstract artistic thoughts mix. With references to canonical works from art history such as 'Fountain' in Wassall's work and Monet's water lilies in Lohe's, the artists explore similar concepts with contrasting techniques.


Dominating a wall in the exhibition, 'Untitled Night' by Lohe overlooks the gallery space with a scene that is like a nightmarish reinvention of Monet's paintings, as dark, murky green and blue hues swim across the huge painting of water lilies. The image demands attention, but it was, however, a shame that the thick, white edges of the canvas are marked by paint which slightly disrupts the work's finish.

Alongside 'Untitled Night', Wassall's 'Remembrance' sits as a hovering glass specimen jar, held mid-in air by magnets; as the jar spins in constant motion, the glistening gold leaf that lies within is mesmerising. The intriguing small jar of treasured gold is small, appearing tiny in size next to Lohe's large painting, but it nonetheless successfully captures viewers' attentions.


Fiumano Clase

'Remembrance', Nicole Wassall. Fiumano Clase.


Another two works by Wassall in the exhibition celebrate the influential, yet widely under-acknowledged, dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of 'Fountain', the iconic urinal that has been historically attributed to Marcel Duchamp, Wassall draws attention to a convincing theory that the work was originally created by Baroness Elsa.

In the exhibition, a photograph and a sketch of Baroness von Dada, as she is referred to in these works, sits trapped in two bottles, surrounded by lavish feathers. 'Channelling Baroness von Dada Part 2', as the work is called, faces a broomstick that is obstructively placed on the gallery floor.

Similarly to Baroness Elsa's fondness for removing the context and functions of everyday objects by presenting them as art, Wassall presents the broom in the centre of the room as 'Channelling Baroness von Dada Part 1'. Along the base of the broom in this piece, the artist quotes Duchamp's words in French to his sister where he refers to a female friend who had submitted 'Fountain' under the pseudonym R. Mutt. These pieces, as their names suggest, belong to a series of works, the third part of which is still to be presented.


Fiumano Clase

'Channelling Baroness von Dada Part 1', Nicole Wassall. Fiumano Clase.


Along with the still objects in the exhibition, two screens with projected films by both artists play in cycles. Quiet, repetitive noises accompany the films, adding immersive background noise to the viewing of the rest of the works.

Despite the visual contrasts between the works of Wassall and Lohe, the two artists are brought together carefully and effectively in the inaugural exhibition at Fiumano Clase.