An exhibition of elegant neon sculptures at White Cube Bermondsey.
The South Gallery II of White Cube Bermondsey is turned into a magical, wondrous and captivating space filled with new works by Cerith Wyn Evans. The space is huge and sparsely filled with five neon works, a composition of 19 flutes suspended from the ceiling, and three Phoenix roebelenii, small palms on turntables. The set-up of the show is very minimal that gives the viewer room to walk around the works and absorb them from all sides and angles.
The press release says that “Wyn Evans has focused on ideas around the flows of energy via material conduits, circuitry and choreology – the practice of translating movement into notational form.
Three of the neon works take their form from the codified and precise movements of Japanese Noh theatre. To me the forms look more like scribbles, a roller coaster track or signatures layered over each other. The forms, though, are very elegant, delicate and sophisticated.
The geometric forms are inspired by ‘Oculist Witnesses’ that appear in Marcel Duchamp’s work ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even’ (1915-23). They recreate the forms on the right side of the lower glass panel of Duchamp’s original. The skewed angle makes the work very dynamic and it would be interesting to see the work in complete darkness and perhaps to experience it as a floating angel in the air.
The idea to intersperse the neon sculptures with small palms really work. They are meant to “conjure an otherworldly presence with intimations of the occult”, but to me, they conjure a positive feeling of Caribbean nightlife; a sultry evening with neon signs above disco doors.
In the upcoming weeks for Frieze Art Fair in London galleries program their best shows and some of them can be quite bold and extrovert to attract attention, but a contemplative show like this is a welcome alternative.
Written by Thierry Somers
Cerith Wyn Evans, White Cube Bermondsey, until 15 November 2015.