Mirror City – exhibition critical response

“MIRROR CITY” explores the effect the digital revolution has had on our experiences” This is the tag line for this exhibition.

This exhibition is at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank and showcasing new artists.

The artists exhibiting believe reality, science fiction and the digital age have combined to create this Mirrorcity, therefore an imaginery space what they believe is the London of today.

Even this description is quite confusing and complex as was the exhibition. You have to leave any pre-conceived ideas about the artwork outside the exhibition and walk in and really let the works take over you otherwise you will feel lost and wonder what has hit all your senses.

The space inside the gallery was huge and brightly lit. The art works were placed at great distances from each other and because of this it felt like there were some pieces missing.

Artworks included paintings, film and video, sculptures, drawing, sound and performance.

The walls were white and the captions were also written on white backgrounds with black text. These were easy enough to read but the text was lengthy without giving enough information about the artist or clear understanding of the idea behind the works.

At the time of my visit there were around 100 visitors and most of them as I watched them had a confused and bewildered expression on their faces. There were a few mumbles as people were trying to decipher the art pieces.

Some artworks were performances or films. Headphones were required for this. The videos ranged from 15-30 minutes and apart from one show I did not see anyone stay for the full duration of the shows. Some spectators did not even bother with the headphones. These shows were not like watching a film down at your local cinema but required an understanding of the piece on a completely different level and also the patience to remain interested.

As a deaf person I really struggled with the headphones and of course there were no sub-titles. Normally I just about get the idea about what I am watching even if I can not understand the speech but these performances were beyond understanding as a visual alone, I suppose these were like bad dreams that you try to figure out when you awake.

This exhibition claims to be about “the shifting, complex and multi-faceted nature of London itself” which it does as London is a very mixed, confusing and complex city which changes all the time but I felt it was more negative than positive in its representation of the city.

Would I recommend the exhibition? Yes if you like to be confused and enjoy mayhem and No if you want an easy life. The choice is yours!

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