JUSTIN KERR. Rat Basket. 19 May - 6 June 2009

Justin Kerr’s Rat basket is a supine wicker man whose heart is a hole in the floorboards. The figure is bubbly - well, desiccate, but kind of animatronic nevertheless - contorting an amicable but amputated Vitruvian shape between the gallery’s 2 pillars that’s visually algorithmic, almost moirĂ© like in its docility, spinelessness and playful pathos. It might be latent scaffolding for a costumed resuscitation or snap fairytale hormonal spurt, but really its anthropomorphic strut is a genetic mutation in the artist’s own errant ergonomic mishap: the inability to manufacture the quadrupedal and more imposing body of the intended titular rascal, which here might be instead the
androgynous recline of a larger, sublimated art-historical rat, or indeed a navigable break down of this very gallery's dilapidation and infestation. Anyhow, Rat Basket feels like a sacrifice in the workshop of animal fetish – a sort of inverted Frankensteinian experiment to create a somatic accident that turns out too perfect, too figurative, however hollow and slack. Sacrificial also as a sort of decorative, decapitated angel, its body is alluring and unsettlingly vulnerable despite its cute enormity. While its very hollow curvaceousness, tunnel-like limbs, and general contour-like topos is an invitation to get inside it, you'd prefer to just look right through, weigh up the gently conflicting latitudes and longitudes of the buoyantly marooned reflexology, see it flutter in the draft, before wistfully retreating. From a departing distance, it seems to retreat on its own floored axis.