Electronic Superhighway: Whitechapel Gallery

Our membership of the Tate has run out so we're not attending as many exhibitions but it's good because it encourages us to get up off our backsides and see what else is on offer. Last weekend I felt in need of some some art. It can be addictive and I think for me it is definitely a form of escapism; like a good book. Robin did a bit of research and came up with a new show on at the Whitechapel about art and the internet: Electronic Superhighway

Getting out of the flat is so hard in the winter, don't you find? It seemed to take ages for us to get out the door. We should have allowed enough time to absorb everything and allow for breaks etc, especially as we were paying to get in but we got there late afternoon and it shuts at six... Silly Billys!

Time restriction therefore meant we had to miss out a few things as awaiting us were three rooms dedicated to the subject, running in chronological order. We went to the last room first where we could look at the older work. Robin has made a lot of work recently using old images of computers with text so he was interested to see the older works. Here's one page from his forthcoming booklet...

I also am more interested in older art and there are many reasons for that, too many to go into here. So anyway we cut to the chase and started at the end!

We dashed upstairs and played with the toys. There were screens everywhere: large groupings of screens such as in Nam June Paik's intsallation called Internet Dream from 1984 plus individual screens showing artists experimenting with computer programmes.

Following through we encountered this projected film by Stan VanDerBeek

There were a handful of geometrical paintings from the 60's and 70's in this section which captured my attention and were refreshing after looking at so many screens and putting on headphones to hear accompanying soundscapes. I suppose that even back then painting would have been seen (especially in this field) as terribly old fashioned and defunct but I found the paintings very engaging and exquisite, proving for me, that painting can always reflect what is current in its own unique way. It can juxtapose reality and fantasy and produce something that can be both compelling and beautiful. Here are a few snaps to give you an idea.

Ulla Wiggen
Hybrid Men Monolitisk
Acrylic on wood and paper

I was captivated by the paintings of Ulla Wiggen which reveal the beauty of electrical circuits. Her work is very fine and the representation of tiny components make the painting work, both close up and with distance. Here's some of her work. The small piece above has a lovely soft almost suede like quality to the finish. The larger work below (an image off the internet as our picture was no better) shows the overall shape and colour of the work but fails to show the exquisite detail of the tiny components within the piece. I guess if you're interested you'll have to go and see it for yourself and I think it's worth it. It is very beautiful in its own strange way.

Ulla Wiggen

If you like a bit of technology in the mix with your art appreciation then you'll be entertained by this themed show and there's a lot more to it than I have dealt with here. You've got until the 15 May to check it out but don't make the mistake that we did; allow yourself enough time.

And for an encore here's another beauty by Roy Ascott called Change Painting from 1968 (Five glass panes in a wooden frame).

I love it!

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