White Room/Black Room by Alexander Brodsky
[Around Town] Leading Russian sculptor, artist and paper architect Alexander Brodsky creates a site-specific installation for Calvert 22
Summary: On the upper floor of the gallery, visitors encounter the major installation composed of two adjoining rooms. The ‘White Room’ – which has been cloaked in white curtains, with white light projected into the room, is empty apart from a row of miniature beds along one side. The room leads to the ‘Black Room’, cloaked in black curtains, at the centre of which is a sculpture with a number of identical Styrofoam figurines crouched around a light source which resembles a fire.
On the lower floor of the gallery, Brodsky has created a series of pencil drawings, several of which are of factories with smoke billowing from their flues. Other drawings depict people, birds or abstract shapes. A sculpture made of crumbling, unfired clay in the centre of the room recreates a converted factory where Brodsky lived for three years in Moscow.
Highlights: Being plunged into darkness in the Black Room, before joining a group of sinister-looking figures around an eerie fire is an enjoyable sensory experience, as is your return into the White Room, which although nondescript when you first entered, becomes another unique sensory experience when you emerge from pitch blackness.
Low points: Some people may find the installation upstairs a little too ‘conceptual’, and the space doesn’t allow for the scale of some of Brodsky’s more famous outdoor installations.
Curatorial comment: ‘The visitor to the gallery embarks on an adventure in which the senses lead and reason follows, moving through two dramatically different environments, piecing together the disjointed narrative which gradually emerges as one makes their way through the installation.’
Final word: Not mind-blowing, but well worth experiencing a bespoke exhibition by one of Russia’s leading artist-architects.
Alexander Brodsky – White Room/Black Room
Until 25th November. Wed-Sun 12pm-6pm, Closed Mon and Tues