31st Oct 2019 – 23rd Feb 2020
Standard Ticket - £14.00
Concessions - £11.00
This is too much. I experienced an entire circadian rhythm in one hour, condensing my time, and by the time I left I was at a surplus. So now, my writing seems simultaneously magnified by stimulation and also saddened by letting myself sleep on it.
We’re in the exhibition at all times, even during transitions. There’s no space to breathe in between the works, which might represent our entrapment within the structure of time. Our sense of time has become an omnipresent context, and we’re confined by it, simply because we’ve imposed it upon ourselves. Now we’re turning it on its head, getting more confused, fenced in, and over-loaded in the process.
Marcus Coates' 'Self Portrait as Time', 2016 & Julia Varela's 'X.5', © Stephen Chung for Somerset House
Art is a slippery transition between theory and reality, and although we know it is a threshold we must cross, most of us are fine with watching and talking about how fascinating it all is. Then, we leave the art bubble and go back to the everyday. I think it should be done differently: we should examine and explore the artwork consciously, and always remain halfway in reality, so that everything we ingest can be translated into our own world.
The exhibition is divided into five themes: day and night, activity and rest, the human and the machine, work and leisure, and the individual and the collective. The enumeration itself sounds overwhelming, and the exhibit isn’t any less so. This, fruitfully, is a perfect analogy to be used in relation to the exhibit, as well as the world. Lights flashing everywhere, confusing our eyesight; voices screaming at us in between paintings; short films, posters, videos—each mode of perception is appealed to. The sheer amount of stimulation pushes itself upon the viewer relentlessly. As a result, all I can share now is a mismatched bundle of perceptions, coming out in revelatory agitation.