Inside the White Cube, Ann Veronica Janssens; Cerith Wyn Evans; Damian Ortega, Play Time
White Cube Bermondsey
UNTIL 12 NOVEMBER
There are three kettles of fish to fry at the Bermondsey outpost of the White Cube this month, so lets start with Cerith Wyn Evans and his installation within gallery 9 x 9 x 9.
Coming off the back of the commission in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain Cerith gives his fans another neon sculpture. Neon Forms (After Noh IV) takes full advantage of the super high ceilings as it stretches almost the full height of 9m, creating a musical score of light that changes every which way you look at it. The flows of energy create a zone of meditation, a space within a place, the material and immaterial all at once.
Cerith bends the neon to his will, taking inspiration for his shapes from traditional Japanese Noh theatre (which also appear in previous works) which has been performed since the 14th century. He imitates gestures, footsteps and energies in light, creating a whole new language.
Part 2: Ann Veronica Janssens
Ann Veronica Janssen’s room is so full of shiny things in the first extensive solo exhibition of her work in the UK. Definitely a new-age Carl Andre, she began her career in the 1980’s by stacking concrete blocks within gallery spaces.
Nowadays she still produces minimalist sculpture and installation, but works with more transitory materials, and sometimes non-materials, such as light, sound or mist. Untitled (white glitter) is strewn across thee floor (apparently distributed via a leaf blower), leading towards a red light (Reggae colour, 2004-17) that turns the room blue if you stare into it for too long. These works serve to fragment our reality and illustrate our changeable sense of perception within given contexts, highlighting the fragility of our human experiences. Matter and architecture are thrown into slo-mo, making the brain hyper-aware, hence the active viewer is required to be present in order to complete the artwork. They rupture our spatio-temporal experiences in much the same way that Cerith’s neons rupture the air with light.
Part 3: Damien Ortega, Play Time
Damian Ortega fills the biggest space in the gallery with his geeky science-experiments-turned-art, exploring natural phenomena (such as chance, game play, and systems of knowledge, like cosmology and genealogy) with facts and figures that belong to an incongruous world.
In Coliseum: Diagram of Time (2017) Damian builds a visual depiction of time itself in the form of a reduced scale coliseum that makes the viewer feel like an ancient God standing over it. Each block represents a 5 minute segment within the 90 minutes of a football game, becoming a sculptural index of time arranged in ascending scale. Harnessing time itself is no mean feat, yet Damian releases the inner potential of the materials he uses, which should be understood as a ‘flow of energies’.
Coliseum: diagram of time 2017 pigmented concrete, overall dimensions variableIn Encyclopedic Geodes (2017) he releases internal potential energies of a 1975 version of encyclopaedia Britannica- bound tightly into spheres and dissected in half like a scientific experiment, they look like specimens awaiting inspection. Behind the geographic specimens, an infographic tells us There’s nothing new.