Supersymmetry – Ryoji Ikeda

Multi-storey car parks seem to be as integral a part of hip London life as overly precious coffee, craft beer, tattoos and extravagant facial hair. They’ve become cafes, cinemas and art galleries – no-one does anything as mundane as park a car in one anymore.

Ryoji Ikeda’s is a Japanese visual artist and composer of electronic music, and Supersymmetry represents his first major solo exhibition in the UK. The vast, dark space was divided into two rooms. The first contained a series of light boxes, on which tiny spheres, like ball bearings, move in shifting patterns as the surface gently tilts below them. It’s a simple but hypnotic display – moving between the organic – the elements seeming to take off in loose formation like the murmurations of starlings, then group and settle again. The sounds of them rolling across the surface is reminiscent of the tide washing onto a sandy beach. But then you notice as they settle, patches of geometry, brief glimpses of order – straight lines temporarily forming into fragile shapes then break apart again just as quickly.

I could have done without the strobe-lighting though – there’s something about those health-and-safety notices that always precede anything containing strobes that puts me on edge.

The second room consisted of two banks of monitors facing each other so they receded into the darkness, forming a corridor of light.

CERN seem to be on a mission to capture hearts and minds, or at least arts and minds. Author Will Self was recently invited to tour the complex for a radio 4 documentary, Self Orbits CERN – an unusual choice of writer if they intended to de-mystify their work for a wider audience as his writing is often as challenging as anything that comes out of the experimental physics community.

Ryoji Ikeda
Brewer Street Car Park
23rd April – 31st May

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