‘Life in the Folds’ is an installation that seems to be filled with objects from an alien culture. Comprised of video, sculptural objects, works on paper and a publication, the common thread that links these pieces are strange glyphs, which appear to be a form of language.
The installation seems to be a hybrid between a traditional contemporary art exhibition and a museological display, as if we are seeing artefacts from a very different culture than our own.
The glyphs are represented in sculpture, as works on paper and in a newspaper-like publication. Without the newspaper, we might assume that the shapes are pictorial, but the conventions of the publication (from its structure, to its materials and layout), would lead us to believe that they are characters and a form of language.
An artwork like this needs time to sink in, and the pile of publications lying at the entrance to the gallery may be an invitation for us to sit down, paper in hand and immerse ourselves in the work.
The British Library is a large and colourful artwork by Yinka Shonibare which comprises a huge collection of specially bound reclaimed books covered in vibrant Dutchwax fabric and embossed in gold with the names of notable British figures who were born outside the UK or have non-British ancestry.
The artist Raymond Hains plays an interesting game with us in his artwork Valises; an installation which comprises a utilitarian metal shelving system stacked with box files, metal Airbus cases and plastic packing crates filled with books and index cards.
Michele Ciacciofera’s installation Janus Code (2016-17) is a collection of artefacts that resembles a dreamlike museum exhibit. Apart from the occasional concrete items (a butterfly, seeds, a stone), many are handmade, created with unexpected materials to resemble familiar-looking objects and displayed like anthropological specimens.
Michel Blazy‘s Aqua Alta was displayed at the 2017 Venice Biennale. At first sightthe work looks like a neat stack of pristine books. On closer inspection they better resemble catalogues or fashion magazines. In actual fact they are anonymous leaflets, featuring scenes which appear to relate to Venice. Looking even closer one can see ridges and channels cut into the paper, like a small landscape of canyons and valleys.
A structure floats; the majestic hull of some dream ship. It’s huge, but nearing on the intangible. This is not quite the ghost-like art of Do-ho Suh’s, but evokes a similar feeling; the concrete-turned-transparent. This fragile tableaux is a combination of simple elements brought together to create a striking work.