Having been recommended Eddie Peake’s ‘The Forever Loop’ by someone I bumped into at the ICA this weekend, I jumped on the tube over to the Barbican to see what all the fuss was about. Before entering the exhibition you are told explicitly about the nudity and strong language you are about to experience, but if you know Peake’s work this is no surprise. The whole space is a stage; performance is integrated through maze-like installations and live performers synchronising with past work played on video screens. We, the experiencer, become a vital part of the work as we walk side by side with a rollerblader in a translucent all in one suit and stand face to face with naked performers.
The core of this work is sexuality, gender and desire shown through the reoccurring colours, shapes and words throughout. Acrylic purple bears lay against walls wearing light blue, soft scarfs and and a green chez lounge sits in an area of black and white checkered floor. Towards the end of the exhibition a sculpture walking of a 2D figure with a transparent cube head filled with expanding foam and everyday objects like shoes, medicine and books, stands on a shallow white plinth. This piece worked well next to the live performance and all of these objects, found or created by Peake, contribute to an atmosphere of transition and movement.
Along with this theme of movement was a scaffolding structure in the centre of the curve. With steps up and a platform to walk across, being able to look at the work below from yet another perspective enhanced it, especially when the rollerblader joined you up there (and I didn’t know what to do). A screen was also fitted to the side of the platform where the same video played- a montage of past performance, the artists childhood videos and a loud, fast paced music. This all added to the room, there is no beginning, middle or end to the videos or exhibition as a whole, it just keeps going.
Visited 7th November.