180 The Strand

“Nowadays everything happens at once and our souls are conveniently electronic (omniattentive)”– John Cage, 1966


The exhibition isn’t chronological or categorised by movement or influence but features 45 works which explore ‘experience, effect and events, invoking immediacy and immutability’- Alison Thorpe. I definitely experienced a sense of being immersed in all types of contemporary art whilst walking around the exhibition. I found that It was at points an overload of information which reflects the changes which social media have bought about, overloading us with information.

Entering into the exhibition were told to take off our shoes and enter a dark room where a a light a light display takes over the room with accompanied electronic sound. The black and white stripes which take over the floor resemble bar codes with sound transforming us into a digital world. Ryoji Ikeda focuses on sound and light using mathematical precision. ‘Test pattern’ is an ongoing work which uses data from texts, photos and movies and converts them into bar codes and binary patterns. In this space, people began to sit and get comfortable with the environment. They’re stays were extended over a period of time as they almost became hypnotised by the immersive experience. I was fascinated by the urge to record the work, most people in the room were taking photos or film for their own use.

Film created by Ruth Linnell

Ikeda’s work set the tone for the theme ‘everything at once’. Then traveling outside the to get to the first studio space, we were being transported into a wildly different environment which worked well in disorientating the viewer. In the first studio I was particularly drawn to the work of Richard deacon. His minimalist sculptural forms, by use of light and shape, have challenged my perception of what their construction consisted of. As I moved around the work I discovered its reality, which was disguised from certain angles, presenting itself in a very different way.

‘Vincent’ 2005, by Richard Deacon
Photograph of ‘Everything At Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Turning a blind eye’ 1985, by Richard Deacon
Photograph of ‘Everything At Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

Similarly, ‘At the edge of the world’ by Anish Kapoor creates a sense of misunderstanding with his sculpture. The viewer experienced the audio form a large dome structure when standing inside its belly, however, when looking up- the surface appears flat- thereby confusing the viewer. This large scale distorts the air around it. ‘By combining them (the sculptures) with pigment and light – or the lack of it – he transforms the viewer’s perception of his work, creating ephemeral experience as much as actual objects.’ I find the power of illusion within sculpture very interesting and I want to explore this within the field of photography within my own practise.

‘At the edge of the world II’ 1998, by Anish Kapoor
Photograph of ‘Everything At Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

Ai Weiwei’s work consisted on a wall which tells the story of displacement, conflict and alienation which has been displayed along side blasted tree roots. The iconography of the wall paper was inspired by Greek and Egyptian imagery which documented early movement of people. I think that the scale with which this piece was displayed payed emphasis to the scale of the refugee crisis. The work becomes overwhelming when looking intimaty at individuals which are depicted and connecting with their story, then panning back to see a 60 meter stretch of wall which holds repeated stories.

‘Odyseey’ 2016 by Ai Weiwei
Photograph of ‘Everything At Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

Another significant piece of work for me was that of Lee Ufan (Please see ‘Playing with Situation’ blog post).

I found that the curation of the show massively played into its title. The viewer was not only overloaded with visual information form a variety of artists, but the movement around the exhibition brought you through a variety of different space. The slick opening was representational of a modern gallery space, but moving through we entered into darkened spaces where the light was ‘at the end of the tunnel’ so to speak. Much of the building seemed unfashioned and under construction which I personally felt added to the intended experience for the viewer.

Photograph of ‘Everything At Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

Please see: Playing with situation

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