Host of Leyton Gallery, 658 High Rd Leyton, London E10 6JP
A copse of branching fronds and colourful leaves, Into the Woods is an exhibition of tree-like kinetic hanging structures – the first solo show of critic and curator Phineas Harper. Experimenting with brass, bronze, steel, aluminium, painted card, acrylic, acetate and many varieties of timber, Harper plays with balance, shadow, translucency and fragility, creating mobiles that move under the slightest breeze continuously altering the relationship between observer and setting.
With life spans centuries longer than humans, trees evoke endurance and solidity, yet for all their fortitude, trees are fragile – easily felled and no match for rapacious, addictive economic growth. Living carbon sinks, trees have a key role to play in the fight against climate breakdown but 17,500 species are already at risk of extinction. The stems and petals of Harper’s mobiles are pretty but delicate, their structures held in fragile balance intended to echo the beautiful yet precarious state of forests.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a series of evening and weekend workshops in which Harper will teach participants to make their own mobiles, covering the basics of wire bending and mobile construction while learning from the great mobile makers of the past such as Alexander Calder and Bruno Munari.
All pieces in Into the Woods are for sale. Proceeds from sales and workshop tickets following gallery commission will be donated to Open City, a charity dedicated to making London more open, accessible and equitable by creating free educational programmes and events.