A century ago, Giorgio de Chirico painted “The Revolt of the Sage” – a ‘metaphysical’ work in which a collection of apparently-unrelated objects were combined together in inconsistent and surreal perspectives to create a new world, a world in which “time did not exist”.
At Blain|Southern in London, Simon Moretti and Craig Burnett have curated an exhibition of artists who, over the last century, have built on this theme, using collage, multiple images and disparate items in installations which are purposely unresolved to enable viewers to travel across time and cultures and make their own new interpretations from these artistic connections. Sculptures by Lynn Chadwick, Goshka Macuga, Erin Shirrett and Geoffrey Farmer create new sculptural metaphysical forms against a backcloth of photographic works, collages and prints by artists including John Stezaker and Sigmar Polke and digital projections by Mark Lewis, all media which make it easy to combine different images in new and challenging ways.
Lastly, in the centre of the gallery is Paloma Varga Weisz’s “Still Life” (2016) where two elegant glass and steel coffee tables have at the lower level a body in a white laboratory coat, and at the upper level glass jars from a chemistry laboratory full of different substances raising questions about the relationship between the two – is it something positive where biomedical science is seeking to cure disease, or is it something sinister where humans are being used for experiments. You, the visitor, have to look and let your imagination run wild.