Last week we were invited to see The Infinite Mix in Central London, here’s what we made of it.
The Infinite Mix brought a sense of space, spectacle and wonder to London. A much needed injection of creative ambition, ideas and energy to a city in dire need of colour and fun in the post-truth “age of anxiety”.
A collection of works by blockbuster film and moving image artists, the show took place in the middle of a building site – dust and rubble was around many corners.
The Infinite Mix was a Hayward offsite exhibition, organised in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory. Here’s a few of our highlights:
THANX 4 NOTHING, 2015 © Ugo Rondinone
Ugo Rondinone’s immersive video installation features legendary beat poet John Giorno performing THANX 4 NOTHING. In this poem written on his 70th birthday, Giorno looks back at his life – and the people and events that shaped it – with humour and compassion. Performing in a tuxedo and bare feet on an empty stage in the Palais des Glaces theatre in Paris, as well as in a brightly-lit TV studio, Giorno gives thanks to ‘everyone for everything,’ before speaking frankly on the death of friends and lovers, sex, betrayal and his frequent periods of depression.
This installation was funny, warm and full of love. The artist’s admiration for another artist is clear, the stories and humour leaping from stage to screen and enveloping the viewer. A beautiful piece that is impossible to forget.
Work No. 1701, 2013 © the artist. c/o the artist, Hauser & Wirth
Martin Creed’s work often focuses on a single movement or gesture. In Work No. 1701a range of individuals cross a New York street, accompanied by a jubilant pop song written and performed by the artist. Talking about the film, Creed has commented that ‘doing things in life, living and working, is always using your body’, and that ‘life can look like a dance’. Work No. 1701 is a celebration of the act of getting from A to B, as well as the different ways in which people move through the world.
Creed, who has been writing songs and leading a band for over 20 years, describes his music and his visual work as an ‘attempt to make something for the world’. As he explains, they both stem from the same place: the desire to ‘say hello, to try to communicate somehow.’
Martin Creed’s piece was about movement and place – taking the viewer out of themselves and asking people to understand different location, dance and what makes people people.
© DACS, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin
In the holographic illusion OPERA (QM.15) Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster appears in the guise of legendary soprano Maria Callas (1923–77). Dressed in the singer’s signature red dress and dramatic makeup, the artist lip-syncs to arias from Cherubini’s Medea, Verdi’s La Traviata and Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. Situated at the end of a derelict corridor, and encountered from a distance of 30 metres, the luminous figure is at first startlingly life-like – an impression reinforced by the strength of Callas’s voice.
OPERA (QM.15) is influenced by the development of photography, early cinema and the interest in the uncanny shared by many 19th-century artists and writers. It is related to a larger body of work that Gonzalez-Foerster began in 2012: an ever-expanding ‘fragmented opera’ consisting of live and recorded performances in which she appears as a range of fictional or historical figures. To Gonzalez-Foerster, each performance – including her turn as Maria Callas – is not theatre, but rather ‘a kind of séance.’
The technical quality of the Gonzalez-Foerster installation was superb, capturing attention and imagination as people explored the building. The haunting sounds and beautiful holographic colours prove to mash together sound, space and time together. A unique experience that questions the nature of both art and performance. Wonderful.
We’re limited by time what we can say about The Infinite Mix. First of all, it was a pleasure and a privilege to see large scale art and video in Central London. Let’s hope for more in 2017!
Secondly, we came away thinking about the title and the grouping of artists. What is really infinite? I think it’s modern culture, with its remixes, reinventions and technology opening up ever more outlandish ideas and ways to tell stories. And of course, these are mixed across countries and across cultures. But this “Infinite Mix” means we have a challenge, we only have finite time and an even smaller attention span – where does the great work go in The Infinite Mix?