Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Serpentine, Saatchi, Globe

Hello Blog,

It’s me, Celine. On Thursday we went to the Serpentine Gallery, the Saatchi Gallery and had a tour of the Globe Theatre (a faithful reproduction of the theatre Shakepeare had built for his acting troupe). There were many crafty blobjects to be enjoyed by all (and yes, spellcheck, I mean blobjects, NOT ‘projects’). The highlight of the day was Phillippe Parreno’s exhibit at the Serpentine. It consisted of several choreographed videos that moved the audience through the Serpentine’s five four open rooms. Rather than playing on loop, the videos played in sequence, with the next video calling out as the previous video ended. The work spoke of loss; loss of reality, liberty, identity, and life. The most lyrical was titled June 8th, 1968. It was a simple five minute video shot from the point of view of those on board JFK's funeral train as it wound its way from Dallas to Washington DC in the days following his assasination. We the audience look out on beautiful windswept landscapes populated by various stony faced citizens who stare solemnly back at the camera, saying nothing. The only sounds are the train and the wind through the trees.

After each video, the curtains are raised. I was delighted to notice after the first video that it was snowing outside; the kind of lovely, gentle snow that one associates with childhood. As I came close to the floor length windows facing Kensington gardens, I noticed breath marks on the glass, at a child’s height, although there was no child in the room. It was only later that I realized both the snow and the breath marks were a part of the installation; the breath was actually etched onto the glass, while the snow was made of soap bubbles, timed to fall after the curtains rose.

Throughout the gallery there were also towers of plugs rising from the embedded outlets in the floor, plugs from all over the world, fitting male to female in a bizarre game of blocks, terminating in a plain orange night light. This collection of plug installations served to guide the gallery goers from room to room.

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