The partitions have gone, the rooflights have been filled in, and everything has been painted white above the grey concrete floor. But wait, the walls are covered in black text and coloured illustrations, with arrows like flow diagrams, the floor’s central area is covered with photographic images from night clubs and other places to create a dance floor, around which there are isolated chairs for people to sit and watch. The chairs are ambiguously entitled ‘Aunty’; their positions suggest that they might be occupied by those lonely souls who sit alone in a nightclub and watch the evening pass by, but perhaps they are occupied by chaperones who watch and wait, while at the centre the large video screen is showing ‘Mythiccbeing’ linking back to the ‘Threat Model’ on the walls.
LA-based artist Martine Syms is only 30 years old, and already this is not her first exhibition in London – two years ago she look over the gallery spaces at the ICA with her installations ‘Lost & Found’. Her work bridges art, photography, printing, graphics and performance. She calls herself a ‘conceptual entrepreneur’ and would not have been out of place in the Design Biennale currently on show at Somerset House – perhaps we might look forward her to representing the USA at the Venice Biennale in future years, or is she too radical?
Her themes are the concerns, emotions and identities of black American women, but they go beyond that to the concerns and identities of women generally, of gay and transsexual individuals and of people of different race, in fact anyone who suffers conflict about their identity, things that have happened in the past and uncertainty in the future.