The Serial Killer’s Café Steven Malorie Potter Crescent Arts, Scarborough to 25th March 2018
This latest exhibition at Crescent Arts, which I guess is Scarborough’s own ICA, doesn’t live up to the sinister undertone of the title, but offers something rather more complex and intriguing. It is of course possible that a serial killer has taken a coffee in the café where Potter works, but the material the artist has collected reflects the more quotidian interests of the café’s customers. The left behind scraps which Potter has collected provide an anonymous snapshot into people’s lives – diverse pieces of abandoned ephemera, from torn diary pages, half-finished crosswords, notes and reminders, scribblings and clues to routines lived elsewhere. I found the exhibition to be a study in contemporary archaeology, that is the study of a layer of discarded objects left by their owners only to be rediscovered by a detached and classifying mind after the day’s clientele has moved on. Piecing together this stuff presents a problem: none of it is related. Potter draws connections which don’t actually exist, but could exist if one wished to impose on them an order to assist classification. The items are presented in a mocked up café with sickly ochre walls and a soundtrack which immediately reminded me of Kienholz’s Beanery, where the clatter and chat collides in an impenetrable if familiar sound. This exhibition is well worth a visit, or perhaps any café would do. Anywhere where the ghosts of our existence have passed through.