Courtesy the artist and Wilkinson Gallery, London

Utopian ideas of the future at the Icon Gallery, Birmingham, with Robert Orchardson’s Endless Facade

Courtesy the artist and Wilkinson Gallery, London

Utopian ideas of the future using low-tech materials and found objects creates Robert Orchardson’s Endless Facade at the Icon gallery Birmingham.

For his sculptured vision of the future Robert looks to the past for his sci-fi and futuristic design. He calls on the inspiration of big-thinking architects Bruno Taut and Endless Facade itself partially revisits the sets designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1955 for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear.

Noguchi aspired to an other-wordly feeling, ‘free of historical or decorative associations’ where abstract, mobile forms created a shifting landscape against which the play unfolded.

His designs for the RSC were, however, met with damning criticism, deemed as outlandish and unsympathetic to the theatrical production. Robert provides an opportunity to consider the designs again, grasping the optimism and eventual redundancy they embodied.

Huge monochrome wall constructions create a jigsaw of interlocking triangular shapes, referencing the unifying grey of Noguchi’s design and echoing a crystalline structure of the recurring diamond motif.

The nostalgia for the  for the modernists is also brought through in the use of found objects that have been divorced from their function and given a new sense of potential as part of the modernists hope for the future.

This is the first European museum exhibition of Roberts and is in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

• Robert Orchardson’s Endless Facade is at the Icon gallery Birmingham until Monday, April 25. Find out more on the gallery’s site, including an interview with the artist.

(image: Robert Orchardson, Endless façade (2011) (detail) Cement board and cast resin Courtesy the artist and Wilkinson Gallery, London)