Back in November I went to Leeds to see the British Art Show. It was a really varied show – texiles, painting, video work (installation and single screen), sculpture – and going quite soon after being at Frieze in London, it was also really resfreshing (Frieze was a bit depressing really).
It was while ago now so fortunately the only things I remember are the only things I should be writing about…. saves on waffle. Hopefully. This is what I remember….
James Richards: ‘Raking Light’. About the plesure and the act of looking. This was memorable for being so beautiful and simple. A lot of the footage had a kind of elemental feel – water, smoke and firworks, trees, birds (‘bird’ is an element right?), boats on water. This sounds a bit romantic, and it may have been a little, but there was also quite an intense, rumbling soundtrack to the film and fast editing so it kept a sense of wildness.
An interesting interview on Rhizome with the artist talking about, amongst other things, rhythm and sound. Includes the term ‘spot-off’ as opposed to spot on, I like that.
Mikhail Karikis: ‘Children of Unquiet’. Another video I thought was brilliant. With loads of voices and sound and a distinctive visual language – with decisions made about colour etc.
Interview from the British Art Show page.
Rachel Maclean: ‘Feed Me’. More video. We didn’t manage to watch more than about 10 minutes of this becuase it was closing time, I’m not certain how long the full thing is but I think around an hour. Candy coated consumerism, exploitation, sexualised chilhoods and infantalised adults. It’s good and unapologetically creepy. Not sure what to say about it but it’s very something.
John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison: All That is Solid. This film uses new and archival footage to explore the relationship to image and sound, and the ‘the fact that sound and the voice – as insubstantial as fog or smoke – often leave no trace.’ (from the BAS8 page), particularly in relation to documentary. The film used a mixture of archive and new footage. It’s an intriguing thought – the lack of materiality of sound, and a thought that stayed with me after seeing this piece.
Melanie Gilligan: The Common Sense. A video installation about a point in the future (seemingly not so far away) where humans are equiped/installed with a patch that conveys our feelings to the people around us. More creepyness. There were bluetooth headphones which tuned into each screen seperately which I think emphasised the loss of a private, interior world that we each have because everyone listened alone.Reminded me of an episode of Black Mirror.
We didn’t get there with enough time for everything and there’s a lot of stuff I’d like to see again. Things I missed and i wish I’d caught:
Benedict Drew: Sequencer Bedwyr Williams: Century Egg RyanGander:Fieldwork Laure Prouvost: Hard Drive
There’s a lot of video work here. There were also a few sculptural and material works that I thought about afterwards such as the yarn/rug-like wall hangings by Caroline Achaintre, which are kind of ugly but absorbing, and Magali Reus’s lock-like wall sculptures which seemed to carry secret messages through codes and snippets of information…
Lawrence Abu Hamdan – I thought was a really interesting idea…
From the BAS8 page: For his installation A Convention of Tiny Movements (2015) inBritish Art Show 8, Abu Hamdan draws on research carried out by engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concerning the potential for ordinary objects – such as boxes of tissues, houseplants and crisp packets – to act as listening devices. As Abu Hamdan explains, the work provides ‘a series of ways to approach, inhabit and conceive of the new aural world being forged by emerging technologies.’
Also, slightly unrelated but it’s heartening to see a major exhibition not start, or finish, or even visit London.