Art is meant to challenge. The exhibition “No Shadows in Hell” at the Pilar Corrias Gallery in London asks us to rethink our current perception of the future. We live in a society of contradictions, with extreme societal, environmental and political forces where the sustainability agenda may suggest that we should consume less, but our economic agenda says that we should consume more, where we are being encouraged to use less energy but are being encouraged to buy more gadgets that increase our demand for energy, where immigrants are dying as they flee their homelands for some utopian vision that does not exist, where we are encouraged to have more freedom, but there are security cameras everywhere recording our every movement – except apparently anyone who commits a crime, who somehow manage to avoid the cameras.
The title of the exhibition is an oblique reference to J.G. Ballard’s noel “Super Cannes” (2000) in which he describes a “near future where a “perfected” pressured existence is based on corporate work and hyper-productivity”. Work by five American artists – Olivia Erlanger, Josh Klime, Jason Matthew-Lee, Sam Lewitt and Carissa Rodriguez – in different ways relate to the effects of physical and psychological disturbance brought on by the contradictions of modern society using an mixed variety of media to make their point including pigs blood doped with Adderall, an old telephone hanging unused and monthly cryogenic storage fees for donated sperm.
An exhibition which works well in the Pilar Corrias Gallery, which has superficially the characteristics of the ubiquitous “White Cube” architecture – white walls, polished concrete floors, simple metal staircase, but there are no ceilings and the environmental services are exposed – work in progress….like society.