post-title Nick Goss | Margaritas at the Mall | Contemporary Fine Arts (CFA Berlin) | 04.09.-02.10.2021

Nick Goss | Margaritas at the Mall | Contemporary Fine Arts (CFA Berlin) | 04.09.-02.10.2021

Nick Goss | Margaritas at the Mall | Contemporary Fine Arts (CFA Berlin) | 04.09.-02.10.2021

Nick Goss | Margaritas at the Mall | Contemporary Fine Arts (CFA Berlin) | 04.09.-02.10.2021

until 02.10. | #3155ARTatBerlin | Contemporary Fine Arts currently presents the solo exhibition “Margaritas at the Mall” by the artist Nick Goss.

It is by pure coincidence that Nick Goss and I share so many memories from the shopping centre*, and that I should be invited to write about his new paintings sourced from those familiar spaces: a drunken brawl in The Palace Bowl; crowds loitering on just those escalators; a Bakerloo Line train rolling onto the platform at Elephant & Castle, its near-emptiness facilitating a surprise instance of homely camaraderie. It is not so important to the paintings to know which train, which mall, exactly. Still, the fate of this roundabout, these streets, is particularly well-poised to speak of our time and its people: of the city as a placeholder for loss and memories; of pictures both as death-masks and carrying structures. In this traffic junction we see (and hear) the end of brazen modernist idealism and the neoliberal tidal wave that has continuously flooded the UK over the last decades, leaving the streets undead, and in the place of that famous ‘stiff upper lip’ installed a new British affect par excellence: a light despondency, a solemn stillness under the bustle…

In his paintings Goss seems to aim at the modus of memory; how at any given time it necessarily contains more than one place, more than one logic. Old photographs of Dutch landscapes or details from the wild embroideries of Mary Queen of Scots make their way into compositions – visible through the windows in End of the Line – to create a very real sense that perception is augmented by imagination, a reminder that the world always belongs to the one who sees it. These elements become a kind of harness on reality as it appears in Goss’s works, both a tear in the logic of the painting and a mechanism by which to control it. Another such mechanism is his use of prints. In Argument, the carpet – strewn with unhappy drunkards, bottles, a face as if in a reflection, or on the cover of a magazine – is a print of the carpet that actually lined the floor of The Palace Bowl… The work becomes about its own building blocks, and how an impression instantly collides with fantasy and memory to create an internal language of figures, patterns and colours…

It is from the push and pull between this kind of editing and a heightened sensitivity to the emotional and sensory subtexts of space and time that Goss’s paintings acquire their richness. A strong sense of interiority meets the muffled shouting of the crumbling metropolis…

Goss constructs an only ever creeping but nonetheless robust sense of familiarity through the repetition of clothing, patterns and prints…

ART at Berlin - Contemporary Fine Arts - Nick Goss
Nick Goss, Courtesy by CFA 

…what we glimpse in Goss’s samples from Elephant & Castle shopping centre was never there. Not really. Sure, the allure of this location as motif comes from its descent into limbo – as everything once called into question, it stirs with life. But objects in limbo are transparent things, as Vladimir Nabokov wrote, ‘through which the past shines,’ and the past, in large part, a story we tell ourselves…

When the band Dry Cleaning trigger my memory it is because they cuddle their listener in associations, much like Goss, in the fragments of life that we share, torn loose from the contexts that set us apart. There’s humour in the detachment, as there is, in Goss’s paintings, always something more to what we see, however flat or rotten or wasted it may seem. It was fun at the bowling alley until it wasn’t anymore… Right?

Excerpts from the catalogue text by Kristian Vistrup Madsen*

Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre – the first indoor shopping center in Europe opened in 1965 and was demolished in 2021.

Exhibition dates: Saturday, 4th September – Saturday, 2nd October 2021

to the gallery



Exhibition Nick Goss – CFA Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst – Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin

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