Eddie Peake’s ‘ The Forever Loop’ / The Barbican

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.

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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.

Cerith Wyn Evans // White Cube Bermondsey

Cerith Wyn Evan’s current exhibition at White Cube is full of ideas surrounding the flow of energy via materiality in attempt to create an integration of the word around us. My immediate reaction to the space was that it was intriguing. The placement of the three 4ft potted plants juxtaposed to the five hanging neon sculptures was interesting and spending time amongst it was like stepping into a futuristic forest. After taking a close look at the luminous neon forms entitled Noh I,II & III, I found myself questioning my imagination as I looked over to one of the plants and thought I saw it moving. I guessed this was perhaps the attempt of the brightly lit work, to cause an illusion of the plants moving when they infact were not. As I got closer to them I could see they were sitting on small circular turntables, each one spinning at a different speed and in a different direction. Nothing felt static in this room. Sounds played loudly, the noise of long notes played out of a sculpture consisting of 19 ‘breathing’ glass flutes. This mechanically operated piece’s sounds reverberated throughout the entire exhibition.

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palm/ turntable

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The overbearing sculptures were a maze of complex lines suspended from the ceiling inspired by Japanese Noh theatre (where they take their name). They question our notions on perception and subjectivity whilst remaining aesthetically elegant and mesmerizing. The space itself was incessantly inviting. To walk in between the light of the sculptures and around the composition was to become apart of the work and it’s arching comment on duration and time were echoed in visitors inability to leave it in a hurry. This theme is also seen in the subtlety of the work in the corridor of the gallery. Wyn Evans has reconfigured an existing light fixture to blink a morse code narrative describing the relationship between the sun and moon during a solar eclipse. Overall I enjoyed the artist’s use of the space and their vigour in creating work that challenges our common perceptions of reality and cognition.

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Cerith Wyn Evans / White Cube/ Visited 28th October.