Tuesday, 10 January 2017

No Such Thing as Gravity

From Sarah Sparkes' The Ghost Formula. Apologies for the
 image, it's better without the reflection of my hands and
camera included.
An exhibition running at FACT in Liverpool asks, what is the nature of scientific truth? A group of artists have approached areas of science in a way that can create unease and controversy. I went to see No Such Thing as Gravity this week and came away confused and ill at ease. But it's art, so that's a good thing, yeah?

I can say up front that I often find the exhibitions at FACT to be… challenging. A common theme is a merging of scientific and artistic thought, and it is the artistic side of this partnership that can be difficult. Having said that, I rarely miss an exhibition, and even if I don’t understand much or anything about what’s going on, the images and exhibits will be guaranteed to unsettle me and give me cause to think deeply about the ideas long afterwards. Perhaps that is my problem. Maybe we are not meant to understand. Maybe the idea is to present a series of triggers designed to send our brains  skittering off on random courses to find their own understandings.

Unsettling is the best way to describe Helen Pryor’s exhibit, The End is a Distant Memory, upstairs in Gallery 2. This is an exploration of the ‘unknowable space between life and death’ and she uses a series of video presentations using chickens, from factory farm to supermarket shelf, and even beyond, where life of a kind has been seen to continue for several days within fibroblast cells of chickens taken from those same supermarket shelves. In another part of this gallery we see a man on a table. He is unconscious and limp, and being dragged, arranged and manipulated for some purpose. His body is lifeless but the movement is constant, and it is disturbing in a way that is hard to define. Like many of the other exhibits, it left a mark, perhaps even a scar, and I have no idea why.

I would recommend a visit to FACT if you are in the area. The exhibition will make you think… about something… but I cannot predict what.

Cafe’s good too. Pretty decent veggie and vegan fare. I had a falafel and guacamole sandwich. Mmm!

No Such Thing as Gravity runs until 5 February 2017. And it’s free.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

I have to admit, Mike, that I rarely get over to Liverpool these days. I did see an exhibition or two a while ago here, and found it left me cold. There seems to be little affinity between creator and audience in much contemporary art and I have seen many exhibitions that I felt wasted my time or made me say "So what?"
however, your description of this exhibition has piqued my interest and so maybe I shall make the effort to go and view it through a writers eyes now!
Thank you.