In contrast to a fellow stack sculptor whose show I just reviewed (Annie Morris), multimedia artist Angela Bulloch deals in unicolor jagged constructions. The blocks’ sharp edges and intimidating energy make for a somewhat rigid and reserved entrance to the exhibition room. This stringency is quickly combated, though, by each work’s bright hue (red, yellow, green, blue, etc). As visitors walk the exhibition, wrapping around the Corian and stainless-steel statues, the level of comfort increases.
A push and pull dynamic (not only between the audience and the artwork, but within the actual sculptures themselves) also aids in the softening of this energy. Individually, the rhomboids are complete sculptures, boasting an autonomous strength. But there is also a clear dependency between the monochromatic counterparts—reminding us of the artist’s own fascination with pattern, rhythm and connection.
On the lower level, Bulloch has created a separate (virtual) world. The exhibition offers two very different universes—one rooted in the visual vernacular of the 20th century and another defined by a fantastical virtual realm. The otherness of this realm is encapsulated in the video (Rainbow Unicorn Rhombus, 2021). A three-dimensional model of the gallery gave way to Bulloch’s ability to play with the physicality of the gallery space and how viewers engage with it.
At first, the video appears somewhat playful as ‘objects’ (small, simulated sculptures Melancholyflower and Peanut Glass Stone) bounce around the virtual gallery space. Not to mention the slow—motion effect makes it hard to look away—it is a mesmerising display. This playfulness, though, soon becomes grounded in a much more serious appreciation for the dichotomy presented as soon as the attention is shifted in the left corner of the room where Night Sky Blue: Jupiter & Saturn in Capricorn. 12, 2020 is hanging. The dark blue and black LED- Installation made of felt, aluminium profiles, and cables sparkles subtly.
Whether this was purposeful or not, (something tells me it was) doesn’t matter, though, because its only one of the many times Bulloch urges her audience to stop, pause, and ponder our own existence in these very different domains. This interdisciplinary body of work specifically seems to be calling attention to the definition and presence of survival in the respective spaces along with our reliance on the belief of other (virtual and technological realms).
While viewers watch the virtual sculptures’ colliding into gallery walls and the totemic stacks, we are left with no choice but to compare this experience to our own consumption (just minutes before) of the exhibition. Unlike some of her contemporaries, Bulloch is not explicitly coming out and condemning the (somewhat) global takeover of technology; but, the artist perhaps merely wants a human acknowledgement of it. And it’s safe to say, she gets it.