• Art
  • Recommended


Ryoji Ikeda: Supersymmetry

5 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

Last year, Ryoji Ikeda Darth Vader-ed the bejesus out of London’s night sky. ‘Spectra’, the Japanese artist’s beam of light which scorched the skyline as part of the WWI centenary, became one of the most talked-about artworks of 2014. It’s a tough act to follow – and you wouldn’t think that filling the top floor of a car park with an installation based on particle physics would come close, but it really does.

‘Supersymmetry’ is inspired by Ikeda’s time as artist-in-residence at CERN, the Swiss supercollider that is smashing particles into each other in the hope of answering some of the questions posed by modern physics. But you don’t need a degree in quantum mechanics to enjoy what Ikeda has created.

The first room is pitch-black, and dotted with waist-height light boxes covered in tiny ball bearings. They tilt and swivel, sending the balls flying across their surfaces like a flock of mechanical starlings. The light boxes strobe and pulsate. More lights flicker from the other room. As you walk through, you find a long corridor lined with a bank of monitors. Beams of light dash across them, graphs of data appear and disappear at speed, and speakers beneath them squeal and rumble.

The images in this hallucinatory room veer between random computerised chaos (jumbled data, graphs and nonsensical sentences) and calm, spiralling visions of drifting dots. It’s like being stuck in a storm in a computer.

But the main sensation is that of an impenetrable mass of information. Figures, numbers, words and diagrams flicker past quicker than you could hope to process. It’s overwhelming. It all makes you feel so small: Ikeda is reflecting the awe-inspiring complexity of what’s being processed at CERN. That feeling you get when you think about how big the universe is? That’s what you get here. That Ikeda can replicate that in a work of art tells you all you need to know about ‘Supersymmetry’. It’s awesome.

Eddy Frankel


You may also like
You may also like