The boys the girls and the political

Art Free
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A summer show about process rather than product, collaboration over ego, this oddly comma-averse show that sprawls across both Lisson spaces is a lucky dip of recently trendy tropes in contemporary art. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher in parts. You’ll see Alice Theobald’s bewilderingly self-referential ‘And the Wanderers Wandering at the Wonders of Themselves’: a trio of films depicting two people being filmed doing not very much in Dalston, to a soundtrack of sad plinky-plonky piano. Around the gallery the artist group Am Nuden Da have smeared the walls with blue paint which, we’re told, refers to a 1970 wall piece by cult monochromist Blinky Palermo. Am Nuden Da (Adam Gibbons, Lewis Ronald and Jesper List Thomsen) have used wall filler tinted blue to match the colour of the Facebook logo, drawing attention to the flaws and imperfections that usually get smoothed out before a show opens. At a stretch, you could liken the way their little blue blobs appear to proliferate to the agency of social media, but the stretch feels uncomfortable even if you’re fully limbered up in the lingo of contemporary art. Thomsen also appears as a solo artist with a group of abstract works codifying a text that turns out to be the title of the show.

So far, so taxing. Fortunately, there are cheaper thrills to be had in Richard Sides’s installation. His video ‘The Tourist Trap’ is a delirious and fairly malevolent mashup that jumps from a conversation recorded in the foyer of the Rijksmuseum to an Angela Lansbury fitness video to Joan Collins in that Snickers ad to a punishingly loud outro of ‘Drive’ by The Cars. Sides is an energetic and accomplished cultural shoplifter but he doesn’t quite steal the show. Edward Thomasson and Lucy Beech do that with their video ‘7 Year Itch’. Taking the idea of the Foley technique of adding sound effects to film (Cellophane for crackling fire etc), the video shows couples soundtracking a sex scene by acting out choreographed yoga moves, practising CPR, even shuffling around like cats with worms, each segment concluding with a climactic ‘yes’. It’s funny, it’s faintly ridiculous, and the whole thing’s over in four minutes which, given the subject matter, sounds about right.

Martin Coomer


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