The installation featured the London-based artist’s most recent video ‘Blue Roses’ (2016) —about which aqnb interviewed Simnett in 2015 while it was still in production —in one room, and a sound and light installation called ‘Faint With Light’ (2015) in another. As described by the gallery, the Valves Collapse presents “the body in states of transformation and distress, blood, surgery and fainting”, with work that stimulates the viewer’s sensations.
According to Seventeen, ’Blue Roses’ alternates between three main locations: a bright, sterile operating theatre; a murky blue netherworld representing the area under the skin at the back of the knee; and a parallel world, filmed in a real-life Texas laboratory, in which cockroaches are subjected to invasive experiments that hijack the insects’ nervous systems to remotely control their legs. Some of the spaces seem ‘real’ —the hospital scenes, significantly —while others resemble fairy tales, paranoid hallucinations, or cinematic interpretations of the protagonists’ traumatised consciousness.
Meanwhile, ‘Faint with Light’ is an installation work that in its pared-down intensity both simplifies and amplifies the themes and moods of Simnett’s film trilogy, where the artist repeatedly fainted by forcing herself to hyperventilate.**
Exhibition photos, top right.