Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Whitechapel's Current Disturbance

After the excitement with working with Oscar Tuazon's last exhibition, I head straight to the top floor of the Whitechapel Gallery to be recaptured by an exhibit that engulfs the whole room.
OK so the beams of wood are slightly smaller to that of Tuazon's, and OK, yes they don't pummel through the walls to the adjacent rooms. But... engulf, encapsulate and fill this gallery room it does do.

To observe the sheer magnet of this structure from the corner of the room, I am met with a chicken like coop of wooden beams and wire mesh, with singular light bulbs caged within a box within a box within a room.
To stand back and see the simplicity and cleanness of these individually placed bulbs like wounded detainees; bulbs lying on their sides, to the intricate spaghetti-like junctions of wires relevantly (if you look) on show within the middle of this caged structure.

The Northern lights has nothing on this piece of art which continual, through its own workings and patterns, generates the light to simply turn on and off through different degrees of intensity. Surrounded by four speakers the room is alive within the hum of electricity, which feels like a small burning torture of excitement, knowing that the exhibit itself is the performer in control.

This, from reading, seems to be part of what artist Mona Hatoum is exploring, the sense that this installation is creating a liveness, and therefore creating a performance itself. With the visual brightening and darkening of the bulbs to the variant hum from the speakers, it is clear to feel as though I have no control over what I see. Oppressed to stand and watch as the installation takes over, the sense of a singular bulb within a wire cage is a burning image I cannot seem to replace.

Continually thinking....

“Keeping It Real: An Exhibition in 4 Acts” seeks to explore the line between art and reality and the relationship between the artist and the tactile world. British – Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum‘s light-filled creation was first shown in 1996 at the Capp Street Project, San Francisco and is now being shown through March as a part of Whitechapel Gallery’s initiative to open private collections for public viewing". (

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