The opening of a new curated collection at the Zabludowicz is something we always make a bit of a beeline for. Aside from the obvious appeal of sipping on a beer or two in the former Methodist chapel, surrounded by consistently thought-provoking yet playful new works, we also enjoy seeing how the building has been transformed for each event.
With a backdrop that is itself so beautiful, it’s all about the use of the space, and how it’s moulded, co-opted and recast to compliment the art around it. But any space can also easily be troubling, and this new exhibition deals with that.
The Ground Floor Gallery finds us greeted by Haegue Yang’s ‘Medicine Men’ – a series of clothes racks decorated with a rather more domestic interpretation of the feathers and shiny, shaky things that such would traditionally adorn these characters.
As usual at the Zabludowicz, there are plenty of multimedia installations in the little rooms off to the side and upstairs. We enjoyed the brave video making of Avi Mograbi’s ‘Details 2&3’, where he invades the space of Israeli military post soldiers with his camera running. They don’t like the camera. As a rule, people in important looking uniforms with guns rarely do. But have they even thought why they are instinctively driven to block the lens? And who here is actually breaking any law? The tension is enveloping.
Across the way, loud recordings of breaking glass prove almost unbearably jarring, as Helene Kazan’s taped windows look at the ultimately pointless, yet popular, idea of taping glass in elaborate ways against natural and human violence.
Upstairs, our own space is unsettlingly challenged in different ways. While Miri Segal places us (or our reflection) directly into a woman’s more private bedroom mirror moment, Ethan Breckenridge presents us with a series of impossible boxes where dull as dishwater objects like modular shelving and metal chairs become the focus of a very trippy take on infinity.
The unstable nature of space continues to be explored with Shi Jin’s beautiful two thirds scale karaoke kiosk (main pic), and Walead Beshty’s clever fragile glass boxes which have been FedEx’ed around the world, the inevitable manhandling scars highlighting troubling issues about the hidden processes behind globalisation – and not just FedEx’s staff kicking things about.
As usual, we urge you to take a stroll around to this phenomenal resource right here in our midst. Experiencing some troubling spaces is exactly the kind of trouble we like.
Zabludowicz Collection, Prince Of Wales Road NW5, Until August 12
Words: Tom Kihl