Frances Richardson: Playing Against Reason (3 stars)

This article is from 2008

Frances Richardson: Playing Against Reason

The great global economic gamble, in heavily symbolic form

Take Frances Richardson’s drawing and sculptures (the latter she refers to as ‘walk-in drawings’) literally and it seems the world is falling down around us. Or at least the financial world is, and that might not be too far from the truth.

But how can things be that bad when there are people in the world prepared to create work as painstaking and meticulous as this? Richardson’s drawings – her actual, physical drawings – are of the four suits in a deck of cards and the four major financial symbols; the dollar, pound, yen and euro. These aren’t simply drawn, but constructed with fearsome detail from a series of small, pencilled plus and minus symbols, leaned on with alternate lightness or force so as to shade some areas and embolden others.

A deck of cards and a wad of money, Richardson seems to be saying, are every bit as intrinsically linked with the whim of fate as each other. On a grander scale she suggests, through the idea of trading in futures, the notion that the world’s financial markets are built on anything more secure than an extravagant, mathematically-abetted gamble, as a huge bluff.

Those ‘walk-in drawings’, a series of five wooden ladders (pictured) which are curved and split and fixed to the wall, reaffirm the notion. They look tempting to step onto, but they go to nowhere and would probably break while you were trying to reach the top. Such symbolism might be heavy-handed, but the work is articulate and impressively-made.

Corn Exchange Gallery, 561 7300, until Thu 28 Oct, Tue-Sat 11am-4.30pm, free.

Frances Richardson

  • 3 stars

In heavily-detailed drawings and the sculptures she calls 'walk-in drawings', Richardson examines the mindset of the compulsive gambler and the notion that the world's financial markets are built on anything more secure than just an extravagant, mathematically-abetted gamble. Such symbolism might be heavy-handed, but the…

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