A great, international exhibition
Somerset House is currently hosting the first London Design Biennale. Artists from all over the world have contributed work exploring the theme of Utopia by Design. The exhibition fits into Somerset House’s broader theme for 2016: Utopia (this year is the 500thanniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia).
Thirty-seven nations, spanning six continents have contributed. Their work is varied and thought provoking. Exhibits look at everything from accessible design, visualised data and interactive installations that respond to movement and breathing.
I was particularly struck by Japan’s contribution. Artist Yasuhiro Suzuki’s installation has great variety. Pieces draw you in, encourage interaction and surprise. Titled ‘A Journey Around the Neighbourhood Globe’ the work looks at the world from various perspectives. The pieces dealing with time and globes are particularly appealing. The piece titled ‘Stump of Water’ is a delight, deeply thoughtful yet with a lightness and joy which is sometimes lacking in conceptual work.
It’s likely that the most talked about work will be Turkey’s ‘The Wish Machine’. A wonderful installation using plastic tubing that runs throughout the West Wing of Somerset House. People write wishes and place them in containers which are fed into the tubes. The wishes are pneumatically sent through the pipework and deposited into the unknown. The work is bold, easy to engage with and had people queuing up to get involved.
Austria’s ‘LeveL’ is another exceptional work. Essentially a massive mobile, the work responds to movement in the air, just breathing on one of its light pods will see its glow diminish. It is a strong piece of work, that wills you to rush toward it and yet to fully get perspective on it I recommend sitting in a corner and watching as others play.
The London Design Biennale was fun and a great chance to see the work of artists from across the world. It’s on at Somerset House until 27 September. I thoroughly recommend checking it out.