I haven't seen this exhibition.
I look around. To my left there's some kind of scrapyard. Through the wire mesh a large Rottweiler stares at me, and behind him a larger Alsation drags it's chain along the ground. To my right there lies a violently derelict industrial estate and a petrol station that looks recently shut down, all smashed windows and tyre marks scorched onto the concrete. Grass and weeds grow through the cracks in the pavement and slowly smash open the rotting road. I haven't seen another person in about five minutes. A car cruised slowly past me about two minutes ago, but it's windows were blacked out. I could feel the searching eyes looking at me from inside. I can hear trains in the distance entering and leaving Manchester's Piccadilly Station. I was there just a few minutes ago, but now I'm in the heart of the darkest, most derelict urban wasteland imaginable, and I'm terrified.
I arrived in Manchester 15 minutes ago to view and review John Russell and Fabienne Audeoud's "Abstract Painting" exhibition at The International 3. After navigating the station, which is under heavy renovation, I found the taxi rank, where a slightly manic driver told me that Fairfield Street was a one minute walk away and not worth the fare. So I walked. Big mistake - Fairfield Street must be miles long, and it cuts through the most desolate area in Manchester. The International 3 might as well be in Spain. I only have an hour in town before my connection, and I've wasted half of it. So I return to the station, furious, but glad not to have been shot.
So I don't know what the exhibition is like. I assume that the paintings are a continuation of Russell and Audeoud's previous collaborative work, as seen in the Becks Futures 2001 show. That work seemed to be an assimilation of certain genres of painting used to create a kind of mongrel piece, existing as several things at once. As a painting, using the familiar orthodoxies of painting, as a painting about painting, and as something entirely new but which looks a bit like a painting.
But fuck knows. I haven't even seen it. If I can manage to actually get there before the show closes, I'll have a proper look. Sorry.
© John Brainlove 2001
John Russell and Fabienne Audeoud at International 3
International 3, 8 Fairfield Street, Manchester, M1
T: +44 (0)161 237 3336)