Charlie Smith London: Young Gods (until 9th March 2019)
Teal Griffin's sculptural work is a real highlight of an already strong showing; I recognised '5 Years' from the Goldsmiths degree show last year, where the seated anthropomorphised penguin gazed out from the fifth floor of the art school building. Our animal friend packs a slightly lesser punch at Charlie Smith as it looks out onto a securely locked window but its comedic value paired with the reminder of mankind's continued strained relationship with nature is made clear in the work and is memorable enough to keep people talking about Griffin into the future. I, for one, am excited about seeing where his practice goes next, as 'flat peat' attracted my attention as soon as I entered the gallery, despite its tiny size. Comprised of old socks and garden soil, the work stands erect as if attached to a body; Griffin's work seems to tell stories in a perfect fusion of subjectivity and objectivity, with plenty of space for the viewer to make up a narrative.
There is much to love about all the artists on display; I took an instant liking to some, but Chelsea College's Irene Pouliassi was a slow burner. I needed a few days to mull the artist's work over before realising that it is potentially the most promising of all the artists here. From a curatorial perspective, placing the gruesome 'Dad in the wall' next to Griffin's sock sculpture creates a highly personal aura immediately and complement each other perfectly; the aforementioned work is teeth and human hair implanted into the wall, and her artist bio stating that she investigates trauma and mortality certainly rings true. '#Thedeathnautsdiary' series sees the artist use a highly biographical take on sculpture, like an updated Sarah Lucas, as the artist uses everyday yet personal materials such as used clothes, human hair, butt-plugs and shoes. She also has a great statement on her website that is worth a read, and is like another artwork in itself, with little nuggets such as: "Art is entertainment//Art is the botched human parts//Art is a collective unconscious of trauma. Cheap symbols, manmade, no more industry, labour, pain, repetition, anxiety, patriarchy."