In the twilit Gallery X, light comes into its own in both an entertaining and a thought-provoking way. Some of the electric-powered installations are sleekily hi-tech; others are ramshackle and homespun. An example of the first is Tony Oursler’s smooth white sculpture upon whose surfaces distorted faces are projected. An example of the second is the collection of cardboard boxes stuck together with tape by Joe Bampton, Corridor, Friedrich Strasse 112A, Berlin. There’s a small peephole at one end. When you look through it you see a bleak interior of the sort that no doubt still haunts the dreams of those who were imprisoned by the Stasi.
Displayed, for the first time in any Summer Exhibition, is a piece of video art; it’s by Bill Viola. There’s a Beuysian Evaporator by Peter Keene which gradually deposits salt crystals in bottles, heated via copper coils, in a small zinc bath, and Tracey Emin, elected a member this year, contributes a work in blue neon. Most appropriately, a pair of paintings by Paul Huxley, who hung this gallery, includes the Chinese characters for moon and sun which together make up the character for light. The two illuminated rectangles wax and wane almost imperceptibly, using complex new technology.
Jeppe Hein, Neon Mirror Cube. Mirror, stainless steel, neon tubes, transformers, 100 x 100 x 100 cm.
Jeppe Hein’s Neon Mirror Cube is a simple but effective exercise in satisfying optical illusions, as are Bill Culbert’s plastic bottles pierced through by a lit neon tube. Finally, Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s assemblage of metal junk has no moving parts at all. It also has a title too indecorous to mention.