Two energetically-different installations at the Whitechapel Gallery in London:
The Whitechapel Gallery has been configured for flexibility – running a major exhibition on one artist such as Eduardo Paolozzi earlier in the year, or up to 8 separate exhibitions in parallel; generally a mixture somewhere in between.
While the current focus of the first floor galleries is on the photographic exhibition “A Handful of Dust” and “The End of Love” from the ISelf Collection, the ground floor spaces have been taken over with lively and thought-provoking installations by two British artists born in the 1970’s – Emma Hart with “Mamma Mia” and Benedict Drew with “The Trickle Down Syndrome”.
You enter a dark room on which shapes hang down, illuminated on the inside, and having a variety of characteristics, showing how much complexity can be achieved by one thing which is actually quite simple. Outside they look sinister, like alien eggs or space helmets; inside are a riot of multi-coloured patterns, with the lighting creates white speech-boxes on the floor across which the flowing shapes of knives, forks and spoons spin around.
Emma Hart’s commission for the sixth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women is the result of her six month residency in the three Italian cities of Milan, Todi and Faenza, and is the latest phase of her investigation into pattern, design and psychological behaviour.
Open another door and you find rooms full of contradictions – writhing naturalistic forms alongside modern sound and video and supermarket carrier bags – taken with over by Benedict Drew for his multi-media installations “The Trickle-Down Syndrome” with links from Busby Berkley’s 1930s film-sets to the Surrealist landscapes of Max Ernst, immersing visitors in a sensory experience as Drew explores the possibilities for wealth and prosperity to permeate down through all levels of society. Is this really possible?