Review : Lost Property Exhibition

Exhibition 20-22 March 2013
Location: Portland Works.

Art space made possible by Carl Witham

Lost Property, secreted away in this historic slice of old Sheffield, was an exhibition of somewhat diverse media cleverly presented by Hallam Students in the old Portland Works. Wandering in the first impression is of a good space with room to absorb the work on offer. Diffused light from the windows added a little mystery to the proceedings, always a plus for me where a “gallery” is concerned.

So, what’s to see?

Thankfully, the work on show fulfilled some important criteria. For me the purpose of the artist is not only to record what is seen or beheld but also to challenge preconceived ideas of the viewer. Connor Rogers seemed to have something to say about the unseen environment he lives in by observing and revealing un-noticed surroundings and materials, while Callum McDonnell explores what he calls “enigmatic” sculpture using material, film and photography.

An installation by Alexandra Norcup cleverly invites the observer to actually be part of her statement of concern for the countryside. The wonderfully named XAM offered a video piece inspired by Portland Works and Jorge Fernández Valdés exhibited Dalí-esque paintings that seemed to question the relationship between humans and technology. Maja Mihajlovic’s somewhat minimal architectural structures and drawings explore the nature of spaces provided a striking and thoughtful centerpiece.

Later I was able to catch up with Maja Mihajlovic and have a few words. Maja was in great form, when I asked about Lost Property I was not surprised to discover that all the contributors were on a high thanks to some amazing responses from visitors.

I had seen Maja’s lovely summer exhibition, Follies and wondered how this latest work fitted into the scheme of things. “It’s an extension of that idea” was her reply and she then explained how she had been “seeing different truths” and that “drawings can be deceptions and not always true”.

In this work she was continuing to explore her interest in “inhabited and mis-remembered places” and that working with this group of artists had stimulated her thought processes. I pressed her on the thoughts concerning spaces to which Maja explained how we can be emotionally attached to places and spaces and how she wanted to “do away with labels and definitions and merge ideas, playing with boundaries”.

During our conversation, Maja revealed her desire to return to painting and how the Creative Art Practice course was pivotal in “helping to focus, explore and search for a course of action”, when I posed the question “who are you?” the instant response was “why?” and after a hesitation “why am I?”

After we consumed more tea, a lively discussion over language and art speak resulted in a giggle when I reminded her that her Artist Statement on her website read “Blah Blah Blah!

On the subject of beauty, Maja returned to the themes explored in Lost Property : “I see beauty in overlooked places there are other ways of looking at the world, places carry emotion”.

I had a lovely hour in the presence of this thoughtful and articulate lady, she left me with much to consider.

“Condensing of spaces and emotions, that’s what I do” – Maja Mihajlovic.

Words: Keefy How

Lost Property Website.

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