Pablo Bronstein

On until 9 December 2023

In this latest series of costume dramas, Bronstein comes to the dinner table. As is typical of his elaborate acrylics, the sights are as ornate as they are comical. In lavish, gilded frames, he falls into the late evening stupor of the cheese trolley, the oyster tray, and… the Mars bar.

Some of these scenes are out of the Fawlty Towers buffet, others belong to Last Year in Marienbad. A couple more that complete this cycle of conspicuous production and consumption show cooks stuck on the set of Metropolis. It’s all as hilarious, as camp, and as inoffensive as ever. Except that we have seen it before, albeit not quite in this order.

How does one assess the mid-career production of an artist who found success in a simple, well-executed idea in his twenties and has hardly allowed it to evolve since? Bronstein, and Herald St’s programme generally, are symptomatic of the natural midlife crisis of mid-range art born out of pre-2008 opulence. Their refusal to change with the wind is likely a virtue. But as the market for Bronstein’s antics ages, so will his tricks. To live out one’s forties in a Regency K-hole would be unbecoming.

notes and notices is a collection of short and curt exhibition reviews.