October 2, 2006
450 bricks have been made in the Chilterns from local clay and straw and then assembled by the artist Ilona Nemeth to form a closed corridor in Modern Art Oxford's lower gallery, to be viewed by one person at a time. The earthy smell of the mudbricks connects the visitor to a traditional process used by a rural Romany community in the artist's native Slovakia; Nemeth herself lives and works near Bratislava. 'The Wall' seems deceptively simple at first, but becomes more complex as the viewer is left alone to make of it what s/he will. Why is the corridor closed off? What is it hiding or dividing? This spontaneous firing off of questions in the viewers' mind is characteristic of a successful piece of contemporary art. Across the globe, walls carry religious, cultural & all sorts of other loaded meanings. The neutral title given to the work leaves it up to the individual to determine where the piece takes them. Nemeth's installation breaks off a piece of what can be found outside the gallery; stone blocks are used to build the famous colleges that house many layers of history and learning. Contained in the mudbricks themselves is the very fabric of Oxford, the earth.