Cerith Wyn Evans: Neon Forms at White Cube Bermondsey (23 Sept to 15 Nov 2015)
Upon first entering the gallery you are acutely aware of a soft, barely audible sound of a panpipe. As you move through the gallery past the works of Robert Irwin the sound is inherent in your subconscious.
The vast space of the South Gallery II of White Cube Bermondsey is taken over by the bright white, fluorescent light sculptures of Cerith Wyn Evans suspended from the ceiling. Energising the room but at the same time giving the illusion of monochrome, broken only by the curious addition of dark green palm trees. The space becomes immersive to the viewer due to the careful curation of this site-specific installation. The vibrancy of the Neon Forms draw you in, wanting to examine these curiosities. The Neon Forms themselves stem form ideas of the flow of energy via material, successful due to the imperfections in the flow of plasma and the faint buzz of electricity audible when stood close to the objects. Questions about perception and subjectivity surround the work each individual form not only has a 360° viewing circle but also from different distances appear to merge with one another creating hybrid forms.
In particular ‘The Illuminating Gas…(after Oculist Witnesses)’ (2015) has an imposing foreshortened perspective due to the disk like appearance of the layers and the angle of suspension. The disks from certain perspectives (particularly from a lower angle) mesh and fold into each other, no longer layers instead this large obscure mass of light.
‘The Illuminating Gas…(after Oculist Witnesses)’ (2015)
Dispersed between the Neon Forms are the curious additions of potted palm trees, their presence seems strange and surreal, only enhanced when you realise that each individual tree is in fact rotating, so slow that unless you are close to one you do not notice. Once you have encountered this it become impossible to stop seeing it, the odd addition of animating the trees gives the space an otherworldly feel to it, as if they are anthropomorphic.
That panpipe sound that has followed you through the entirety of the gallery is louder now, you search for some kind of speaker only to realise that what you thought was a broken Neon Form was in fact a carefully constructed set of glass pipes with bursts of air to create that unique sound.