Sometimes in art, apparently simple ideas, well executed, can be extremely powerful and moving.
At the White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey, the floor of the south gallery has been completely paved in stone, on which 300 names of victims of the immigration crisis appear and disappear in an atmosphere of hushed silence within the white religious atmosphere of the gallery space. In ‘Palimpsest, names are spelt out in sand (for those who died prior to 2010), on top of which other names are spelt out in water (for those who died from 2011-16).
Columbian artist Doris Salcedo took five years to research the victims and their remaining families who still mourn for them, before including their names in this astonishingly moving installation. How on earth the artist technically achieved this moving installation is a mystery… And, the aesthetic of the ‘white cube’ gallery adds to the emotional and spiritual impact of the installation.
In the north gallery, as you walk in, the first impression is of 5 old kitchen tables, scattered across the gallery. But, look closer, the tops of the tables have been cut, slashed and scarred and the legs have cracks all over them from when they have been smashed and put back together as best they can. Saledo is using these red tables as a metaphor for victims of sexual (and indeed any) violence, who get on with their lives afterwards, yet are scarred and damaged from the experience.
Across the corridor, in the immensely tall 9x9x9 gallery, German artist Anselm Kiefer has created a vitrine with a parachute trying to escape upwards through the glass and the gallery roof, yet tethered to a rusty old bicycle at the bottom, representing the struggles, contraints and conflicts of life.
Three different installations by two different artists which connect together by exploring different aspects of life today.