There’s a lot happening in the rather small space of London’s The Residence Gallery. With video work and wearable sculptures, colourful engraved acrylic and an Oculus Rift that holds almost pride of place in the centre of the floorspace, the INFO PURA group exhibition, running June 3 to 26, presents an overlaying of media that sit comfortably with the show’s theme. Curated by Ed Leezon, it’s one prompted by an engagement with psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who is quoted in the press release suggesting that “nothing that has once come into existence will have passed away and all the earlier phases of development continue to exist alongside the last one”.
Ideas of temporality and its relationship to space permeate the exhibition. A screen shows a hyper-realistic yet fantastical video game-like character, designed by Daniel Swan, seemingly trapped within its frame, wearing chains and perpetually on the point of action that never comes in a space where time is both suspended and ever-present. Jala Wahid’s sculptures appear as time congealed into amorphous forms. From the highly rendered bodily realism of Swan’s figure to the physicality of Wahid’s sculptures, the labour of the artist is inescapable in both sets of works.
Yet for all the suggestion of simultaneity, floods of information/data and technological salvation, it is the materiality of the works that is perhaps the shows most striking feature, or indeed the relationship between the two. Wandering around the desert wasteland of Kitty Clark’s ‘Everyone is Gone’ virtual reality environment, the heat and clunkiness of the Oculus Rift technology inevitably draws you back into the physical space of the gallery. The computer, sitting in an acrylic box, powering the VR sits like a reliquary, reminding us that these imaginings still have a physical beginning and perhaps ongoing physical traces.
Similarly, Ruth Angel Edwards’s video ‘HIGH LIFE/PETRIFICATION’, a 17-and-a-half-minute video moving through the streets of Los Angeles acts as an alternative catalogue, detailing the commodification of California’s counter-cultures into material objects. Her accompanying wearable sculptures (‘Untitled I’ and ‘Untitled II’) appear as hybrid clothing and accessories —a purse/chain as well as two t-shirts combined as a form of dress. This set of works undoubtedly plays on the commodification inherent in fashion design and tourism.
It may not be that we are at the end of linearity but rather in a moment of overlapping and multiple circulations, each with their own timeframes: the labour of the artist, the exhibition moment, video, fashion, the market, etc.. These multiple and overlapping circulations are not without points, beginnings and endings, as many of these works in fact attest and bring to light in interesting ways. It is in this intersection of the material and the virtual that perhaps yields the most interesting insights.**
Exhibition photos, top right.