Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Chaos contained: Alexis Rago
This exhibition at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, is made up of the large scale, zoomorphic, clay forms of Alexis Rago. They appeared to me like overgrown foraminifera with their tentacles and protuberences, resembling petrified coral. On their own they would have seemed like the contents of a cabinet of curiosities but the lighting in the gallery really brought them alive. Their huge shadows overlapped on the walls and floor giving the whole room a surreal quality. The piece in the image here was lit with flickering light that moved and changed, making you feel you were swimming underwater in dappled light and the forms were marine life swaying in the water currents around you. Another piece was linked to a tinkling sound of broken shards of china which seemed to come from within its structure. That kind of noise – a bit like wind chimes – can be discordant and annoying but here it worked very well and enhanced the immersive experience. Alexis Rago, according to the information panel, wanted to combine science and spirituality and has definitely achieved that – it was enchanting.