Roadside variable messaging signs (they’re the ones that say ‘slow down’ or ‘roadworks ahead’) aren’t an obvious medium for poetry. This hasn’t stopped American artist Shannon Ebner, though. Her latest show, The Electric Comma, uses snippets of a poem on an illuminated sign as the basis for a series of photographic works.
Poetry fans may be disappointed. The text is rendered increasingly illegible from one monochrome print to the next. Even so, the result is more attractive than it sounds. The traffic sign also stars in its own video, flashing belligerently in two-second bursts in the darkened gallery space downstairs. At the gallery’s Balfour Mews space, you’ll find a parallel collection of work – ‘Black Box Collision A’, a series of black-and-white photographs of the capital letter A.
Ebner’s work comes with very little by way of explanation. There’s an intricate backstory – the collection took three years to put together, apparently. But, taken at face value, this is pretty abstract, impenetrable stuff.
Rob, 30, is a project manager, blogger and ice cream maker from Bermondsey. He was selected to write this review as part of the Time Out Takeover – a special edition of the magazine written entirely by our readers.