September 8th-October 2nd 2010 at the Lisson Gallery
Turkish born artist/designer Hussein Chalayan and Central Saint Martins graduate (1993) has managed to construct an installation that explores composition, music and form all in one.
The exhibition is made up of four different rooms, each one home to an alternate aspect of the composition in itself.
The first, as you walk into the gallery, is a statue of the vocalist herself. Central to the room, your gaze becomes transfixed on her vivacity. The alabaster figure creates the allusion of purity and delicacy, whilst the projector creates contrast as her face is full of energy, enthusiasm and, of course, animation. Chalayan projects the image of the vocalist’s face onto the statue to give the allusion of the figure actually singing: eyes blinking, lips moving—she’s got it all.
The room adjacent to the figure is totally plain. Excluding the numerous speakers of course. This room’s focus is on the voice itself, without background music of any kind. It is clever as it manipulates the voice in itself, rather than allowing yourself to concentrate on both the orchestra, as well as the vocalist.
With much anticipation I stumbled downstairs into a dark room filled with yet another projection. This time, it was complete with vocals, orchestra and visuals.
The last space was occupied with yet another projection, this time of
the orchestra alone.
The installation itself seemed exceptional at first, until further investigation. To me it lacked substance and seemed somehow inadequate in comparison to his intense and design. Simplicity, might be what he may have been aiming for. However, the installation does deserve some accreditation as Chalayan was taking a fresh and alternative approach in contrast to his usual art.
The order of this concept was somewhat confusing. The gallery space seemed rather insufficient to say the least. I would have thought that the main projection should have come first, and then gradually waned in descending order.
To conclude, the installation held an impressive stance and deserves much praise. Particularly the constant eye contact from the vocalist in the main projection. However, it was something less than what I expected from the renowned Hussein Chalayan.