David Blandy: The End of The World

Art, Contemporary art
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The end is nigh. Hell, it’s probably already happened a million times over. In the main piece in British artist David Blandy’s show at Seventeen, an immersive three-screen installation sends you spinning through the solar system as a narrator talks about the sun collapsing in 5 billion years, but that’s only one way the world is doomed. He talks about genocide and extinction; he reads out quotes from the chat room of an online game that’s due to be shut down. Over and over, worlds end in countless different ways. It sounds like a man in his late thirties freaking out, worrying about the infinite ways that life ends. It’s a proto-midlife-crisis in a mumbly, bumbling English accent.

Next door, a VR piece dumps you in the middle of a semi in Golders Green. It’s a real archive belonging to 94-year-old Edda Tasiemka; stacks of newspapers and boxes filled with impenetrable information as far as the eye can see, a life’s work and obsession, filling a house but doomed to be chucked in a skip.

Next to it he’s created a mini high street mobile phone shop, its counters filled with dodgy old Nokias, products built from elements that you have to destroy the Earth to get to. Here you are, a consumer of your own destruction.

In its quiet, understated, idiosyncratically English way, this feels like art about the BIG things: what we leave behind when we’re gone, death, legacies, remembrances, fear of being forgotten. The whole show feels like being stuck in the mind of some worried bloke, someone consumed by fear of the future. If that sounds uncomfortable, it’s probably because it’s frighteningly relatable.



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