• Apr 17,2023
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Review: RESOLVE Collective: them’s the breaks-Barbican Curve Gallery, until 16 July

This Spring sees RESOLVE Collective take over Barbican Curve Gallery with their unconventional exhibition, them’s the breaks

The exhibition is built on-site, with one side staging sculptures formed using materials salvaged from other institutions: large plastic signage from Camden Art Centre, cork bricks from the Royal Academy, sheets of mesh from Barbican itself. The other side of the space details the behind-the-scenes: sketches of parts to be built, annotated production schedules, messages left on scraps of wood. Here, RESOLVE completely unpick the idea of what an exhibition is.

RESOLVE Collective is an interdisciplinary studio, making work at the intersection of architecture, technology, art and social change. Them’s the breaks continues their exploration of these themes. Part exhibition, part community hub – throughout the opening the space will be activated by a series of public events developed in collaboration with local organisations and creatives. 

As a collective, RESOLVE aims to provide a platform for the production of new knowledge and ideas through design, they say “design carries more than aesthetic value; it is also a mechanism for political and socio-economic change”. Them’s the breaks certainly does this. It is a thought-provoking exploration of the role of the institution with our communities. 

Further, them’s the breaks encourages the audience to reconsider the use and malleability of materials. One of the strengths of the exhibit is that it provides visitors with an opportunity to engage with artworks in a way that is not always possible in traditional galleries – viewers are encouraged to touch, scale and interact with the works.

Them’s the breaks is a prime example of how art can be used to create conversations about real-world issues, thereby triggering much needed social change. RESOLVE Collective present complex issues in a way that is both engaging and inspiring, using the Barbican’s unique brutalist space to its fullest potential.

Them’s the breaks by RESOLVE Collective is showing at Barbican Curve Gallery until 16th July 2023. Tickets are free and more information is available here.

Image: RESOLVE Collective:them’s the breaks, Installation view, The Curve, Barbican, 2023© Adiam Yemane

Review by Amy Melling 

Amy is a Curator and Creative Producer whose practice is centred around community-led arts projects. Her current research is focused on curatorial methods for exhibiting artworks outside. Amy has a keen interest in the arts and recently completed an MA in Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.

Read Amy’s latest review here Review: Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons – ‘A gallery turned into an apocalyptic wasteland’-Hayward Gallery, until 7 May – Abundant Art


An inter-disciplinary design studio with its roots in South London and extended across the UK, RESOLVE Collective use their commissions to platform local organisations and spark social change. Taking over The Curve, a series of public events, developed in collaboration with a network of exciting artists, activists, writers, DJs, and designers, occupy this transformed gallery space. As part of the display, they’ll use technology usually found in structural engineering to visualise what’s happening inside the Barbican’s concrete structure: using the cracks that naturally occur in a building as prompts for how we consider the structural decline of our systems, institutions, and buildings.

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