The Bloomberg Commission: Josiah McElheny: The Past Was A Mirage I Had Left Far Behind
Sculptor, writer and student of glass blowing, Josiah McElheny transforms the Gallery into a hall of mirrors.
Seven large-scale, mirrored sculptures are arranged as multiple reflective screens for displaying abstract films, selected by a group of invited collaborators and programmed to change throughout the year. The sculptures reflect and refract the projected film selection, saturating the whole gallery and visitors in images and light. Refracted, distorted and multiplied, the moving images explore how abstraction is used to depict an image of visual enlightenment.
The Bloomberg Commission is displayed in Gallery 2, a dedicated space for site-specific works of art that was previously the reading room of the former Whitechapel Library. Inspired by the history of the Library as a creative haven for early modernist thinkers such as Isaac Rosenberg and Mark Gertler, McElheny’s new work explores the history of abstraction in film and video, reinterpreting them by presenting fractured, constantly morphing versions.
Josiah McElheny (b. 1966) lives and works in New York. His work combines a conceptually rigorous examination of history with an ability to create deeply engaging sensory experiences.
The Bloomberg Commission invites an international artist to create an annual site-specific artwork inspired by the rich history of the former library. Bloomberg’s support reflects its commitment to innovation, and its ongoing efforts to expand access to art, science and the humanities. Additional support provided by the Wingate Scholarships. With thanks to the White Cube.