The Bloomberg Commission: Josiah McElheny: The Past Was A Mirage I Had Left Far Behind
Sunday, 19 February 2012
Sculptor and writer Josiah McElheny transforms the Gallery into a hall of mirrors. Seven large-scale, mirrored sculptures arearranged as multiple reflective screens for displaying reconfigured abstract films. Chosen by a group of invited collaborators and programmed to change throughout the year, the sculptures refract the projections and reflect the viewer within the work, saturating the gallery in images and light.
Distorted and multiplied, the moving images explore how abstraction is used to symbolise the Modernist enlightment project. The Bloomberg Commission is displayed in Gallery 2, a dedicated space for site-specific works of art that was previously the reading room of the former Whitechapel Library. The work is inspired by the Library’s history as a lantern of learning and a creative haven for early Modernist artists such as David Bomberg and Jacob Epstein.
McElheny’s new work explores the history of abstraction in film and video, reinterpreting them by presenting fractured, constantly morphing versions.
Also a student of glass blowing, Josiah McElheny (b. 1966) lives and works in New York. His work combines a conceptually rigorous examination of history with an ability to create deeply engaging sensory experiences.