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Barbican Art Gallery

Venue  |  Exhibitions  |  Reviews
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The Materialisation of An Ephemeral Experience

Complete darkness and silence are what the viewers stumble into upon entering the Curve gallery. Following the exhibition assistants’instructions to step down into the gallery proper, the viewers have to be patient and wait. Curiosity, unease and agitation, all come along with the one-minute wait. All of a sudden, a wall of light falls from the above. Undazzling and somewhat misty, the light radiates with epic music. The journey begins. This is Light Echoes, an immersive site-specific installation by American digital artist Aaron Koblin and his collaborator Ben Tricklebank in response to... [more]
Posted by liudi678 on 7/30/15
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What Do Artists Collect?

by Thogdin Ripley
Somewhere in this huge warehouse a noise starts up. Between the rows of crates that recede as far as the eye can see in all directions lies a carpet of dust, as thick and undisturbed as night-fallen snow. The shelves bow with the weight of their load, disappearing up, beyond the soft penumbra of the sodium glow that punctuates the darkness at regular intervals. Somewhere in this maze of gargantuan blocks, pine-smelling and at rest—somewhere in this vast repository of knowledge, this uncared-for library of terminal junk—somewhere here a box is ticking. Danh Vo, I M U U R 2 (arti... [more]
Posted by Thogdin Ripley on 4/14/15
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[VIDEO] Interview with Leandro Erlich

by Vernissage TV
Leandro Erlich: Dalston House is a highly interactive work that lives through the participation of the visitors. As the organizers state, visitors can “scale the walls of a Victorian terraced house without your feet ever leaving the ground.” So if you ever wanted to be Spider-Man, that’s your chance. Leandro Erlich has been commissioned by the Barbican to create a new installation in Dalston. The work resembles a theater set. Erlich created a detailed facade of a Victorian terraced house – recalling those that once stood on the street – that lies horizontally on the ground with mirrors p... [more]
Posted by Vernissage TV on 7/2/13
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A Disneyland Illusion

by Daniel Barnes
The prospect of walking into a room that is filled with one hundred square metres of torrential rain is not one that most of us would relish: but the prospect of playing god and controlling the rain is another thing altogether. Random International’s Rain Room latches on to this dichotomy by creating both a challenge and a source of euphoria with a deluge of rain that you can walk through without getting wet. As you enter the Barbican’s Curve Gallery, an attendant assures you that you will not get wet and advises you not to use any electrical equipment within the installation. This seemingly... [more]
Posted by Daniel Barnes on 1/8/13
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The Human Endeavour: 'Bauhaus: Art as Life' at the Barbican

All too frequently the presentation and packaging of the Bauhaus to audiences has been to focus on the leading male quartet of Gropius, van der Rohe, Breuer and Meyer as the pioneers of a cold, precise, machine-driven sect whose tubular chairs and avant-garde works became stereotypical hallmarks of a ‘bourgeois’ European formalism. Barbican’s ‘Bauhaus: Art as life’ aims to inject the forgotten human endeavour and encounters that took place at Weimar and Dessau, back at the centre of the school’s success and its innovative ‘utopian vision to change society’ - rather than product, which has so ove... [more]
Posted by R Jh on 6/25/12
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The Downtown Scene

by Mike Tuck
Recreating the vibrant arts scene of 1970s New York, the Barbican Art Gallery invites you to explore the work of three artists who (amongst many) helped form the Downtown Scene. The early 1970s was time when art was moving off the plinth, anti-form art was establishing itself and Richard Serra was hurling lead into the corners of rooms. New York as a city was broke, busted and frequently threatening – a set of circumstances which made it ideal to foster the next generation of American artists. In step with sculpture breaking out of the gallery, dance was stepping away from the st... [more]
Posted by Mike Tuck on 3/27/11
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The Surreal House

by Nicholas James
'A means toward the total liberation of the mind and everything that resembles it.' Declaration of The Bureau of Surrealist Research, 27th January 1925. The way we live, the curious blurring of real circumstances with the flux of an internal world: of longings, dreams, and secret chambers. These fascinating lines of enquiry form the exhibition at Barbican Art Gallery, 'The Surrealist House' , curated by Jane Alison, Alona Pardo, Eleanor Nairne and Léa-Catherine Szacke. The Barbican is an apt context for the project; an ill-conceived fortress in the City, with isolating walkways,... [more]
Posted by Nicholas James on 7/11/10
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John Bock - Curve-Vehicle incl.π- Man-(.)

by Joyce Cronin
The power of the absurd to make a serious comment on society has long been used as a device by artists to confront and entice audiences. It is deployed by John Bock in his new installation Curve-Vehicle incl. - Man-(.), comprised of a film screening of one of his ‘lectures’ - a live performance in the space using actors interacting with sculptural elements. The vehicle itself is a futuristic, motorised mobile home made up of a tower of pods, each with some semblance of a living space including kitchen, bedroom and living area. Throughout the lecture, the vehicle docks at pods in th... [more]
Posted by Joyce Cronin on 7/10/10
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Art Review: Aviary

In a gloriously original and creative move, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s first UK solo exhibition taps into an audiovisual buffet of nature.  At the Barbican’s ‘Aviary’, visitors find themselves unwitting participants in a dance of nature as birds ‘perform’ in an art installation. A dark space opens into a cheerful seaside promenade, complete with wooden decking and islands of sand and grass.  Curiously, Les Paul guitars, bass, and cymbals rest in these spaces.  As your senses adjust to the surroundings, inexplicable bursts of loud musical chords emanate from speakers dotting the room.  The instr... [more]
Posted by T Evans on 4/19/10
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Celeste Bousier-Mougenot: Free Bird!

The Barbican's Curve space is currently home to a number of zebra finches and some electric guitars. The instruments, horizontally mounted at the bulbous end of the room, are live and, depending on the movement of the feathered composers present, emit sound that is briefly looped through a delay effects pedal positioned out of sight. Depending on the time you enter the show, you may encounter a sparse, Pink Floyd-esque soundscape, or something more akin to Led Zeppelin, should a bird come over all Jimmy Page. Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, the musician come artist behind this project, has produce... [more]
Posted by Joseph Harrison on 4/25/10
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Robert Kusmirowski: Bunker

Having ostensibly hollowed out subterranean passageways beneath the Barbican, Robert Kusmirowski’s creation manipulates the senses for an emotional evocation of time and place.  The Polish artist’s recreation of a World War Two bunker, his first UK solo exhibit, evokes a harrowing wartime narrative. From the onset, it’s clear an affecting experience is being orchestrated, as you face the gloom beyond a rusted metal doorway etched in heavy concrete façade.  A strong sense of exploration into the unknown overcomes you, while tentatively navigating a network of dimly lit corridors.  Decrepit indus... [more]
Posted by T Evans on 1/7/10
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Radical Nature : Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009

by Benjamin Ferguson
Radical Nature might seem like an odd title for an exhibition that resembles similarly to a school Geography lesson, adopting the unique style offered by 1970s film footage; overcast, out-dated. However, there is something radical in the eccentric and obsessive explanation Richard Buckminster Fuller gives for his geodesic dome. Subversive in its resistance to the picturesque, this exhibition gives superficiality less light than might be shone on a superfluous weed, an indicative statement that suggests why figures on display have remained marginalised. Effectiv... [more]
Posted by Benjamin Ferguson on 6/28/09
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The Disturbing Truth of War

by Frances Guerin
        The photography and video responses to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the ground floor of the Barbican Art Gallery are in provocative juxtaposition with the early twentieth-century photographic works of Robert Capa and his lover Gerda Taro in the upstairs section of the gallery.The works of four photographers/video makers: An-My Lê, Omar Fast, Geert van Kesteren, and Paul Chan see the wars through very different lenses, and consequently, have four very different visions of the most effective and appropriate ways to represent the realities of warfare. In stark contrast to the Ca... [more]
Posted by Frances Guerin on 1/11/09
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Under Frenquency

by E-Slant Team
Working at the crossroads between architecture, sculpture and performance, the Mexico-born, Canada-based artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is well known for developing large-scale installations in public spaces. His work encourages both social interaction and audience participation through the deployment of new technologies. The artist’s immersive sculptural environments are at the forefront of artistic experimentation with new media, and regularly focus on political issues of surveillance and information ownership. For his first solo UK exhibition in a public gallery, Lozano-Hemmer transforms The Curve... [more]
Posted by E-Slant Team on 11/18/08