RIVANE NEUENSCHWANDER: SUSPENSION POINT: South London Gallery, London
Internationally acclaimed Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander completely transforms the gallery space with a site-specific installation. Monumental in scale, yet incorporating minimalist elements including drilled holes, the residual dust and tiny perforations in every frame of a 16mm film, this major new work encompasses a number of discrete but inter-related components.
Born of the artist’s unique sensitivity to space, Neuenschwander’s installation takes as its starting point the full height of the SLG’s impressive main exhibition hall, the beautiful glass ceiling lantern and the horizontal line which notionally divides the space in two. A visually elaborate but essentially simple wooden structure supports a new floor punctuated by a staircase leading visitors to the level above and an entirely fresh perspective on the upper area of the gallery. Here a line of circular holes circumnavigates the space, dividing it in half again but also highlighting the continuity of the walls’ surfaces in the absence of doors. A perpetual dialogue between additive and reductive processes is established, a dialogue which permeates the exhibition, each work within it and the relationships between them.
The temporary structure equally transforms the lower half of the gallery, populating it with supporting struts and obscuring the daylight which would otherwise flood the gallery. Here the floor becomes a ceiling, emphasising the interior nature of lower space. An atmospheric sound piece mimicking raindrops lends atmosphere to the space and is triggered by a water droplet periodically falling into a basin of water, a ‘lake’, on the upper level. Also upstairs, a miniature mountain range formed from the dust from the holes in the wall makes a further reference to landscapes in nature, as do the two film pieces in the show. One follows the journey of a huge soap bubble which never bursts as it floats across tropical terrain, while the other, Arabian Moons, introduces another cycle, that of night and day, in an exhibition where every interpretative direction leads to another and ultimately back to its starting point.