Planned Obsolescence: Nuria Fuster, William Mackrell and Julia Varela

20 July – 20 August 2016
Wednesday- Saturday, 12 – 6 pm
Private view: Tuesday 19, 6 – 9 pm


Julia Varela, Hijacked, 2015
Folded plasma TV
Variable dimensions


Planned Obsolescence reflects on the afterlife of consumer objects, desire and the material world. A project realised in collaboration with SCAN (Spanish Contemporary Art Network), the exhibition is the first of a series presented by SCAN to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Guy Debord’s prescient The Society of the Spectacle.
Can ‘fetish-ness’ be dislodged from an object through violent intervention? The project examines the persistence of material autonomy and poses questions about the meanings of designed redundancy and recycling in a culture that is consumed and mediated through devices which also have expiry dates. Planned Obsolescence is presented as a visual conversation among three artists, Nuria Fuster, William Mackrell and Julia Varela, interrogating the materiality and mechanisms of the fetish ‘aura’ in which projection (psychic and actual), excess and failure are strategic tools.

Nuria Fuster’s work teases anthropomorphic of items of clothing, a bicycle helmet, an inflatable mattress. A galvanised rod, like an element of exercise equipment or a neighbour’s basement fetish dungeon kit sits high on the wall, trailing silvery chain looped to a rafter, suggesting ritualised bodies and repetitive motions. Fuster enacts violent interventions on the bodies of these goods – flames, lashings, breakage. The inflatable mattress littered with geometric reflective shards suggests the immediacy of violence, of puncture, even as it reflects us, the viewers onto its puffed up body and a hand pump invites our hand to intervene.

Julia Varela here deploys damage as an investigative tool, melting and bending flat screen televisions into bat-like origami on the gallery floor. The glossy, lifeless screens defiantly reflecting the gallery and ourselves on their folded surfaces. The device becomes material; an attempted sublimation of the consumer good. On the gallery wall a pick-axe-like form is transformed into an Objet Trouvé, rendered with a linear fluorescent tube as a handle. Both beautiful and threatening, it is also fragile, precarious – its handle weak, glowing, breakable. Both pieces flicker, hovering between the memory of their constituent elements and the possibility of their new bodies.

William Mackrell uses strategies of repetition and accumulation to investigate failure, rupture and time. In Three Points of View, we witness the interminable flickering of two defective fluorescent bulbs until they expire, projected into a corner. As Dan Flavin’s work anticipating its own demise, Mackrell’s piece enacts this process. The piece is both the kinetic pulse of the discotheque and a kind of technological memento mori.

See text written by art critic Lorena -Muñoz Alonso here

Nuria Fuster (b.1978, Alcoi, Spain) holds a BFA degree and PHD in Fine Arts by Polytechnic University of Valencia and has completed sculpture courses in La Academia di Belle Arti in Rome. Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, institutions and museums such as Marta Cervera gallery (Madrid), the Newman Popiashvili gallery (New York) and Hamish Morrison gallery (Berlin). She has participated in several solo and group exhibitions and art fairs across the world including Spain, Korea, Germany, Austria, Italy, USA, Peru, Uruguay and Switzerland and her work can be seen in art centres such as Círculo de Bellas Artes (Madrid), MACUF (A Coruña), Domus Artium (Salamanca), Centre d’Art Santa Mònica (Barcelona), Museo Patio Herrario (Valladolid), La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Museo Extremeño e Ibérico de Arte Contemporáneo (Badajoz), Tabacalera (Madrid) and WUK (Vienna). She has been awarded with grants like Marcelino Botín schoolarship, La Casa Velázquez grant and she has been the recipient of awards like GENERACIONES by Caja Madrid, Injuve award by MEC Spain, Art Situations and FIG BILBAO amongst others. She currently works and lives in Berlin.

William Mackrell (b. 1983, London) studied BA Painting at Chelsea College of Art, London, and is currently completing an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London, 2016. Selected solo exhibitions include The RYDER, London, William Benington gallery (2015) and MOCA London (2012). Selected group exhibitions; Pi Artworks, London, Jerwood Space, London, FOLD gallery, London, Drawing Room, London (2015), Cuadro Gallery, Dubai, Pump House Gallery, London (2014), Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna (2013), Dundee Contemporary Arts Scotland (2012), Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts Melbourne and Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland (2010). His works have been presented at Art Dubai 2016, Miami Art Basel 2015, Frieze London 2013-2015 with Galerie Krinzinger. In 2014 Mackrell was shortlisted for the International Emerging Artist Award and supported by the Arts Council, England for his performance ‘Deux Chevaux’, in 2015 he was awarded the Sculpture Shock Award (Ambulatory) and selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Upcoming projects include ‘I was a stranger and ye took me in’ at House of St. Barnabas, London, Frieze London 2016 with Galerie Krinzinger and a residency and solo exhibition at Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna 2016-17.

Julia Varela (b.1986, Madrid, Spain) has an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London (2013-2015) and a BFA from the Faculty of Art and Architecture at the Universidad Europea de Madrid (2004-2008). Her work has been exhibited at institutions such as La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Fundación Botín and Villa Irís (Santander), Camden Arts Centre (London), Chelsea Arts Club Trust (London) and galleries such as Bosse & Baum (London), Flat Time House (London), Henry Moore (London) and Cul de Sac gallery (London), as well as at Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Dubai, and galería Blanca Soto, Madrid. She has been awarded with GENERACIONES 2016, Madrid, The Venice Biennale Trip Grant, the Chelsea Arts Club Special Projects Award, the Mirlosaw Balka Grant/Residency from Fundación Botín and the Emerging Visual Arts Practices Annual Award by the Universidad Europea de Madrid and included in Emerging Young Artists Archive by Centro de Creación Contemporánea MATADERO.



Julia Varela, Pick Axe Head, Fluorescent Tube, 2014
Pick axe head and fluorescent tube
150 x 60 x 40 cm


Monster (video still) © Jeremy Hutchison, 2016


William Mackrell, Three Points of View, 2010 HD video installation 8’49 mins


Nuria Fuster, I love you, 2015
Iron and leather
201 x 11 cm


William Mackrell, Three Points of View, 2010
HD video installation
8’49 mins


Nuria Fuster, Alquimia urbana 02, 2015
C-print on hahnemuhle fine art
60 x 60 cm