Sunday 12 July 2009

Richard Long

I saw Richard Long’s exhibition Heaven and Earth at Tate Britain. Many of the early works were photographs of interventions he had made in the landscape on walks early in his career and the mounting and labelling were quite old fashioned and quaint. I particularly enjoyed the site-specific mud paintings he had made in the gallery, I liked their freedom and the way the paint splattered off the edges. They are large and run the length of the room and their unpredictability is part of their charm. It seems a shame that they are dismantled and disappear at the end of the exhibition but ephemerality is a feature of Richard Long’s work and most of his pieces only exist in photographs. One room was devoted to his geometric-shaped sculptures made from similar stones. These had a majestic monumentality and the viewers were walking round them quietly as if in a church. I thought the outlines of the shapes on the floor should have been removed once the stones were in place as seeing the outlines made them seem too contrived and spoiled their natural effect.

Eva Rothschild

Eva Rothschild’s installation of interlocking triangles down the length of Tate Britain was very effective. The way they rose and fell over the architecture and accommodated it was impressive. They also formed new shapes and viewpoints as you walked down their length and looked through them into other rooms. They seemed to engage people who were enjoying walking in and out and through them.

Walking in my mind

This exhibition at The Hayward comprises ten installations by contemporary artists each depicting a mindscape that the public can enter and walk through. The work of Yayoi Kusama is used to advertise the exhibition and is the most colourful. She has produced an environment covered in red fabric and white polka dots; the floor, ceiling and inflatable structures are all covered in the same fabric with walls of mirrors reflecting the colours back to the viewer. The picture shows some of the inflatable shapes on the roof of the Hayward. Twenty-five trees along the banks of the Thames have also had their trunks wrapped in the same material forming an installation outside the gallery.

I also thought Thomas Hirschhorn’s cave in Cavemanman was a good way of depicting the mind and allowing the viewer to enter into his thoughts. Walking through the ‘cave’ was quite claustrophobic and showed how different parts of life are categorised into different sections yet they all interact and form part of the whole.

I particularly liked the fairy tale-like quality of Chiharu Shiota’s After the dream. In which a dense web of threads intertwining from the ceiling to the walls formed a thicket around a group of overlarge white dresses that seemed to float in a motionless dance in the centre. A narrow tunnel running through the installation allows the viewer to walk through this network and wonder whether the dresses are being protected or ensnared in a deadly web.

Pipilotti Rist’s Sleeping room was another favourite of mine. It consisted of a dark room in which videos of body parts were projected onto two screens and the floor, while small lights circled around, and a disembodied voice repeated a sequence of phrases. The whole experience was very dream-lie and meditative and made you think about your own thoughts and how they interlink.