I paid my regular (i.e. every two years) visit to the 2014 Artes Mundi
exhibit – or, at least, those
elements of it which are currently housed at Cardiff’s excellent National Museum of Wales
usual, it’s a disorienting experience.
On entering the space, one’s first experience is of Theaster Gates
’ multimedia display, comprising
a big-screen amateur gospel video and various iconic objects – notably a
stuffed goat on a railroad track; it appears to be a celebration of
marginalised aspects of African-American culture. Carlos Bunga
’s piece consists largely of a set of large columns, defining
a space throughout which other elements are dotted – most interestingly a hypnotic
video showing a light-bulb being smashed and inexpertly reassembled. Renzo Marten
’s room is dominated by confrontational
self-portrait sculptures of Congolese plantation workers, rendered in chocolate
(I overheard an attendant remarking on their propensity to melt). I hesitated
to enter Renata Lucas
since it looked as though it was still under construction; what it is, though,
is a room full of hinged wooden pallets, which one is free to walk through and
rearrange – thus defining one’s own experience of the gallery space, I guess.
And I’ve seen Omer Fast
video-work before, at the Tate Modern – his piece here is a slick, surreal film
about parents mourning their soldier son; from the fraction of the
40-minute piece which I caught it seemed to be full of striking moments.
Fascinating, as ever, and far more imposing and
thought-provoking than any verbal description can convey. As is another current
exhibition there, of worrisome official prints from World War One.
Meanwhile, this piece of video flash-fiction
irrelevant to all that, other than in the obvious fact that experiencing stimulating art-works does inspire one to create.
Ideal - a short story
from OTHNIEL SMITH
Labels: art, artes mundi, film, flash fiction, flickr, video, vimeo