I have come to accept that every conversation I have about London will necessarily involve the topic of how expensive everything is. Now depending on how deep the conversation becomes it may also descend into the accompanying problem gentrification poses for the arts scene in a city whose saving grace is its cultural multiplicity. Thankfully such realities are eased by the existence of an abundance of necessarily -and gratefully- free artistic spaces. The Infinite Mix exhibition joins the aforementioned, with what can only possibly be understood as an ode to sound and videography. The exhibition is located at The Store- a creative space which finds its origins in Berlin, and which with the opening of The Infinite Mix, will go on to host a collection of different studios. For now however, the space houses the audio-visual installations of 10 different artists.
The labyrinthine exhibition begins with Martin Creed’s Work No. 1701. It is an exploration of movement that shows different people crossing a street in New York against the background of a pop song coincidently performed by Creed himself. At the other end of the exhibition –in the basement no less- is Cyprien Gaillard’s 3D installation Nightlife and Ammonite Dub; a meditative experience that allows you to become within what feels like touching distance of the landscapes and plant-life depicted in the film.
Making your way through the Brutalist-style building, there is a consciousness that the space itself and the views it allows of London is very much a part of the exhibition too. For example, turn a corner and you may encounter the woman of Dominque Gonzalez-Forester’s holographic OPERA. Shrouded in darkness with aspects of red that lends an eerie realism to the illusion, the moment you spot her is as significant as the piece itself.
Personal favourites include Stan Douglas’ documentary of a convincing 70’s funk jam complete with the meticulously groomed afros, side-burns and psychedelic prints that distinguish the era. The eclectic yet coherent mix of players and instruments is a perfect reminder of the different cultures and necessary collaborations that exist within the genre.
Ugo Rondinone’s multi-screen installation THANX 4 NOTHING features a bitter-sweet oration by a bare-footed John Giorno. The black and white multi-screened projection provides a paradoxical contrast to the colour and non-conventional nature of the beat generation from which he comes from.
Kahlil Joseph’s m.A.A.d, is the natural go to for any hip hop head. Accompanied by Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city album, the two-screened film feels like a sombre love letter to a Compton made surreal by images of black men hanging upside down and riding horses in the steez of a Lowrider Impala. Its genius however is the way in which the film subtly reflects the intricacy and artistry behind Kendrick’s music while retaining its own identity and originality.
The rest of the installations accomplish the exhibition’s aim to “address tumultuous histories and cultural tensions in ways that are thought-provoking as well as deeply entertaining”. It is realised in the cross-cultural fantasy that is Bom Bom’s Dream and in the Pretty Ricky-like whines conducted against a suburban background, as encapsulated in Cameron Jamie’s Massage the History.
Of course, each installation deserves its own analysis but in being free, the exhibition has provided a space where each artist’s work can be appreciated without an urgency that would dictate that you see all the pieces in one outing to ensure financial responsibility. After all, you can just come back. That is until the 5th of December.
By Nikita Quarshie (@dede.koko)