Every time I need to go into Central London, I try and swing by a new exhibition. Last week after a morning meeting, I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Wellcome Collection and their latest exhibition, Alice Anderson: Memory Movement Memory Objects. I’d read a vague description of the exhibit and although unsure of what to expect, I was drawn in by the reasoning behind it, ‘how do we remember the past and commit moments to memory?’. I love anything that encapsulates the senses or involves memory and nostalgia, so my curiosity led the way.
I thought I might as well have a quick glance around the Wellcome Collection main gallery having never been, and so popped upstairs to the permanent Medicine Now exhibition where a variety of exhibits showcase ideas and artistic responses.
The pieces that captured my interest were a sequence of sculptures, representing the human brain’s activity patterns when it encounters the different senses. I also admired a selection of ink paintings by Michael Hopkins that looked accurately like a number of x-Ray scans. I tried to avoid the repulsive fleshy sculpture, representing an eruptive emotional landscape!
Sadly I couldn’t take photographs in Anderson’s exhibition however have borrowed some images from the Wellcome Collection’s website to help illustrate my thoughts. You are encouraged to participate in the exhibition by signing up to an hour long slot, however as I was only passing by, I opted to passively walk through.
Anderson displays a number of sculptures throughout the five stages of the exhibition, each wrapped in copper wire. In the first studio you are greeted by a Ford Mustang where participants can join in the mummification or can cover their own objects.
The concept of memory comes into place when you step into the second studio, ‘Recognisable Objects’. Here you walk through a number of everyday items, each mummified in the glistening copper wire. Anything from a basketball to a Diet Coke bottle is displayed, some easily recognisable whilst others covered in their copper coats take a second longer to place. This first test of memory shows us the things that we are surrounded by, that we barely acknowledge yet recognise within an instant. The shape of a staircase is obvious to us, yet has been transformed by its wire covering to create a glowing heavenly entrance.
Entering the third studio I stumbled upon ‘Abstract Objects’, a group of less familiar forms that are less than recognisable. It was only when I read a small description of one piece that I found I was looking upon a number of paint tubes, something I use on a regular occurrence yet consumed by a copper covering, I was unsure of their identity. The largest of the abstract forms is a tangled space of entwined rope, creating an illusion of a fantastical maze.
The sound of pumping electronic music entices you into the next few spaces. Here you find the ‘Strange Hybrids’, an accumulation of everyday objects, bound together by copper wire to create beautiful abstract sculptures. The glistening tower of jars immediately caught my attention. It reminded me of a stunning classic exhibit from a renowned museum or a piece from a serene Japanese garden.
The entrancing music grew louder as I reached the final stage of the exhibition, the ‘Distorted and Endless Objects’. A group of shelves are displayed, each uniquely disformed by the pressure and direction of its copper coating. Even strong objects have been transformed by the power of the copper, such as a beveled laptop and a large canoe that has begun to twist with the pressure.
Anderson has truly created something unique and intriguing through the art of misconception. I’m unsure of how deeply the pieces relate to a level of consciousness, but it definitely displays an interesting view on how we perceive various objects and our level of awareness.
The exhibition runs until the 18th October is completely free so if you are in the area over the next few days, I recommend a visit! Have you been to any interesting exhibitions recently?