United Visual Artists: Momentum

  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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Installation of 'Momentum' at The Curve, Barbican Centre 2014

Photo: Bethany Clark/Getty Images

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'High Artic' in London, 2011

© John Adrian

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'Origin' in New York City, 2011

© James Medcraft

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'Volume' in London, 2006

© United Visual Artists

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'Massive Attack V Adam Curtis' in New York, 2013

© United Visual Artists. Photo: James Medcraft

Free

The Barbican’s slinky Curve gallery demands a special kind of art but, as we find out, United Visual Artists are up to the challenge

If you were one of the thousands who queued (sometimes for hours) for Random International’s ‘Rain Room’ in 2012, you’ll know all about the Barbican’s Curve gallery. Since 2006 the Barbican Centre has been commissioning artists to create work for its unusually long arc of an exhibition space. The latest, ‘Momentum’ by United Visual Artists, looks set to join the ranks of blockbusting extravaganzas that have put this unlikely venue on the art map.

UVA, a techy collective of 12 London based artists, has made a name for itself over the past decade with atmospheric art installations and visuals for the likes of Massive Attack and Battles. The group were excited to work in this unique space: ‘It’s like a bent turbine hall, it has this wonderful continuous curve,’ says Matt Clark, one of UVA’s founders. ‘We started thinking about how we could create a work which would respond to that. It’s not just about putting things on the wall, it’s using the space as a canvas.’

On entering the installation, it’s as if you’ve just stepped into a Victorian peasouper, or out of a spaceship. Mist fills the air. Through the haze you can pick out 12 pendulums suspended from the ceiling. Swinging rhythmically, each emits two different types of light – a spotlight and a circular beam – in unpredictable formations along with ambient sounds, in a kind of mind cleansing sorbet of white noise. ‘The ultimate aim was to create something that seemed effortless,’ says Clark. ‘It wasn’t about using lots of technology. It’s about the way the objects move in the space and how that makes you feel.’

‘Momentum’ certainly feels like you’re in another world. The edges of the room disappear, distances become difficult to gauge and fellow visitors appear like shadows. Ironically, while this is probably UVA’s largest installation, it’s a fairly minimal affair. ‘So little does so much in this space,’ says Clark. Best of all, this surprisingly intimate experience has been created with a mass audience in mind. ‘I’m conscious of people’s time,’ says Clark. ‘You can walk in at any point. The last thing we want are lots of queues. I wouldn’t want to queue to see something, so why should anyone else have to?’

Freire Barnes

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|6
22 people listening
martha j

very therapeutic, brings calming and peaceful thoughts and feelings. I would thoroughly recommended to anyone. 

Joao D.

Soothing yet intriguing. The light movement and reflections combined with the different sounds makes Momentum an incredible perception shifting experience. You won't regret spending 30+ min sitted at this curvy, smokey hall

Giacomo

Get rid of all your stressful thoughts with this hypnotic lights installation. Worth the queue!

Cheryl

I queued for half an hour to see the 'UVA:Momentum' installation on Saturday and it was really worth it, as I felt that I had stepped into another world. I liked the rhythmic, wave-like sway of the pendulum lights creating patterns that guided me through the long walk on the Curve, only aware of shadows and empty spaces. Brilliant!

Sarah Pyne

Intriguing and slightly trippy - this clip shows just enough to make me want to see it for myself. Quiero ir y verlo!

Curated London

United Visual Artists are renowned for their bold, immersive work, a trend they continue in their new show at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery. Momentum is an installation of light and sound, employing a minimal aesthetic to create an ethereal world. Once inside, the near-darkness and barren soundscape disorient the viewer. The boundaries of the space, as well as the passage of time, become blurred. Hard to define, and to describe, Momentum is a simple idea, brilliantly executed. For more of the latest art news and reviews, check out www.curatedlondon.co.uk