Totally tripped out at Raven Row

You don’t necessarily need drugs to get high, as Ann Lislegaard’s art work proves. According to a page that is no longer available on (a Norwegian government website in various languages): “Bellona, the fictional city of Samuel R. Delany’s 1974 science fiction cult classic Dhalgren is a place beyond reason, where time and space is out of joint and architectural fixtures seem to be in constant flux and transformation. In Lislegaard’s video animation installation, Bellona is a psychological space, in which norms and standards seem to dissolve into a chaos of anti-hierarchical conditions.”
What has to say is fair enough if you want Lislegaard’s work explained ‘rationally’, but I found it more enjoyable to let the constantly moving images trip me out. Bellona is a psychedelic groove sensation, and for me it worked best at the opening of the current Raven Row show, when the room was very effectively blacked out because it was dark outside. I went to see it again at the weekend but there was a lot of sunlight bleeding through the shutters that covered the windows, and this reduced the intensity of the flashback effects the film delivered. You have to sit and let yourself go with this one, but once you adjust to the pace, the three screen looped projection will give you hours of drug free hallucinations.
Lislegaard’s other film currently on show at Raven Row is based on and named after J. G. Ballard’s sci-fi novel The Crystal World. Simon Sellars on the Ballardian website says: “I fully agree with her (Lislegaard’s) view of the novel: it’s a ‘mental space, a state of mind’, and that is really emphasised by her iterative work, which constantly chases its own tail. It’s shown on two screens, side by side, and takes place inside a modernist hotel which residually succumbs to the crystallising process described in the novel. Scenes loop back and subsequently fade and buckle from screen to screen under supersaturation of light, forcing you to constantly question the veracity of what’s come before, and where you are in the loop. Mirror images from one screen to another split off into parallel worlds/scene..” The Crystal World didn’t do much for me at the Raven Row opening, but going back and seeing it with daylight bleeding into the room, I was getting flashes of colour as I looked at this black and white work. Far out!
Just to clarify, Sellars is mistaken when he describes the building in Lislegaard’s film as a hotel. On the web page I’ve quoted him from, he reproduces the following Murry Guy gallery promotional blurb for the Crystal World film: “Lislegaard’s animation directly references the Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi’s 1951 Glass House, and the work of Robert Smithson and Eva Hesse, who investigated crystalline and organic structures as a means of articulating nonlinear time…” Bo Bardi was an important modernist architect, and the Glass House was her home, not a hotel. Esther da Costa Meyer in Harvard Design Magazine (Number 16, Winter/Spring 2002) says of the Glass House: “Though now part of the fashionable suburb of Morumbi, the Glass House once hovered over the remnants of the original rain forest… Suspended high above a sea of green, the building resembles an International Style treehouse. A swaying metal staircase connects the winding path to the living spaces above… Even though the entire area is now built up and the wildcats are long since gone, the lots are large and densely planted, and the Glass House is almost invisible from the road… the contrast between the abstract aesthetic of steel and glass and the lush green of the forest was an important element … For structure, Bo Bardi opted for that of the paradigmatic Dom-Ino house: spindly supports sandwiched daringly between two slabs of concrete. Thin, Corbusian pilotis, set back from the perimeter to permit a free facade, raise the glass box elegantly aloft. Le Corbusier was an obvious point of reference…”
Lislegaard also has an audio installation on at Raven Row, a condensation of the soundtracks to various sci-fi films entitled Science Fiction_3112. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to derive any flashback effects from this piece, and got far less neural stimulation from it than Lislegaard’s film-works. Exhibited alongside Lislegaard are Thomas Bayrle and international audio collective Ultra-Red. The documentation of Ultra-Red’s art activism left me cold. I presume participating in one of their public events is more enthralling. Bayrle’s hybrid minimal-pop sculptures showed the Raven Row space off to fantastic effect; forget the work (I find Bayrle boring), just check out the beautiful architectural achievement it so effectively sets off. The space is very light and airy, and there are many beautiful details; take a close look, for example, at the exquisite handrail on the stairs that take you down to the back gallery in which Bayrle’s work is shown.
Thomas Bayrle, Ann Lislegaard and Ultra-Red are on at Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS, until 2 August 2009.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Supermarket Shopper on 2009-06-22 09:35:07 +0000

Yes, it always warms my heart that when I shop at Sainbury’s it is supporting Raven Row.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-06-22 09:45:05 +0000

I find Asda, Tescos etc. cheaper…But maybe you’d like to re-make my latest YouTube posting “Does Modern Art Give You A Headache” with Sainsbury’s brand asprin?

Comment by Michael K on 2009-06-22 11:24:21 +0000

For the overwhelming majority of us who don’t live in London and won’t be able to see this show, ‘real’ drugs are a lot more effective at inducing hallucinations than art installations.

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-06-22 12:39:41 +0000

Michael is just being silly, everyone know that he lives with the two of us in the Big Blogger flat in Canning Town, east London!

Comment by Supermarket Shopper on 2009-06-22 15:14:04 +0000

well even the loo roll in Raven Row is ‘Taste the Difference’ Sainsbury’s

Comment by The Fake Alex Sainsbury on 2009-06-22 18:52:45 +0000

But when they are taken out of the can are you able to spot the difference between Sainsbury’s own brand baked beans and Heinz? The so-called ‘cheapies’ actually win the accolades in blind testing every time!

Comment by The Clive Phillpot Fanclub on 2009-06-22 19:32:16 +0000

Oh so you mean Raven Row is the same as Tate but with different packaging, got ya!

Comment by The Fake Alex Sainsbury on 2009-06-22 20:00:44 +0000

Not at all, Raven Row is the visual equivalent of baked beans and has nutritional value; in fact if eaten on toast (try Sainsbury’s home bakery wholemeal bread, much better than that rubbish St John Bakery in St John Street EC1) it provides you with all the amino acids your body requires. The Tate is pure sugar with no nutritional value – that’s why all they are interested in is blockbusters; whereas Raven Row exists to showcase little known art. Given the perilous state of public funding and sponsorship, a purely private institution like Raven Row is now the future of the high quality gallery experience in London!

Comment by Le Pétomane on 2009-06-22 20:03:56 +0000

Baked beans good for your heart
The more you eat the more you fart
The more you fart the better you feel
So eat baked beans for every meal

Comment by Sarah Lucus on 2009-06-22 20:05:49 +0000

I like beans
I like sauce
I like sexual intercourse!

Comment by The Clive Phillpot Fanclub on 2009-06-22 20:11:35 +0000

hear, hear! but I bet you don’t drink Sainsbury’s own wine when you go to the Red House….

Comment by Samuel Beckett on 2009-06-22 21:24:35 +0000

Beans, Beans, Beans
Baked beans,
Butter beans,
Big fat lima beans,
Long thin string beans-
Those are just a few.
Green beans,
Black beans,
Big fat kidney beans,
Red hot chili beans,
Jumping beans too.
Pea beans,
Pinto beans,
Don’t forget shelly beans.
Last of all,
Best of all,
I like jelly beans!

Comment by Pete Townshend on 2009-06-22 21:30:38 +0000

Freak out!
Freak out!
One, two, three, four!
What’s for tea, Mum?
What’s for tea, darling?
Darling, I said “what’s for tea?”
What’s for tea, daughter?
Heinz baked beans

Comment by The Intelligent Person’s Salman Rushdie on 2009-06-22 21:36:51 +0000

A million housewives every day,
Whip off their knickers and shout whahey!
Beans means Heinz!

Comment by howing wizard, shrieking toad on 2009-06-23 12:15:10 +0000

Last night,I listened to The Vibrators “Yeah Yeah Yeah” , a simple enough, weightless song.
The song features a 12 second “guitar solo” which is composed of one single sustained note.
No more.
It’s a good song.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-06-23 12:18:41 +0000

I like the whole of the first Vibrator album, and especially like the really dirty sounding guitar that comes in half-way through “She’s Bringing You Down”… I also like those Micky Most productions featuring the band “Pogo Dancing” and “We Vibrate”… And of course they were great to see live in London in the late-seventies!

Comment by Mary on 2009-06-23 22:57:02 +0000

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I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

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