25th April 2008 — 22nd June 2008
A vending machine stands in the cafe area of the ICA, its shelves lined with packets of enticing multi-coloured sweets called 'Celador', branded with the simple slogan - 'a taste of illusion' (the commercial for which you can view on the ICA’s website). Eagerly opening the packet and diving in, I was slightly irritated to discover that once consumed the sweets didn't taste of anything at all. Whilst sucking on my tasteless bit of confectionery I am reminded of the sequence in the film Hook, when the Lost Boys try to teach Peter Pan to imagine his food in order to eat – similarly Loris Gréaud challenges the viewer to use their imagination to conjure up their own perception of the flavour. It is a good idea to keep this in mind when viewing the rest of Gréaud 's exhibition, 'Cellar Door (Once is always twice)' which is only one component of his ambitious project comprising of; an exhibition in Palais de Tokyo, an artist-built studio on the outskirts of Paris and a specially composed opera by Thomas Roussel with a libretto by Raimundas Malasauskas and Aaron Schuster, to be staged by the Paris Opera later this year.
Through an automated electronic door to the downstairs gallery you enter into a small room with black walls bearing the words - 'When people tell me that I don't know how I am going to finish this story, I usually tell them: wait till the end and you will see for yourself'. The floor is covered with a specially designed black and white carpet, the pattern of which is partially derived from the drawings of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome. Hanging low from the ceiling, in the centre of the room are fibreglass balls dripped with black paint; this structure acts as speakers which play an operatic score, the inside of them glowing with a flickering light that appears to be in tune with the music. Circling the room I was hypnotised by the symphony emitted by this melted candelabra. Through my movement around the space I activated another electronic door that opened on to a second room and then a third room, both identical to the first room - just in a slightly different configuration. Walking through this installation I am reminded of the Atari computer game The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; in which Mickey Mouse climbs a tower of virtually identical rooms trying to stop the dancing mops with buckets of water from reaching the bottom whilst the soundtrack from Disney’s Fantasia plays in the background.
The exhibition ‘Cellar Door (Once is always twice)’ at the ICA, very much triggers parts of the imagination that I feel I haven't used since childhood, so it is not surprising that one of Gréaud 's favourite books is Alice in Wonderland. The exhibition is filled with paradoxes, and there seems to be a certain logic, which once you try and figure it out it doubles back onto itself. With influences from architecture, utopian theory and childish memories, this exhibition promises to give you ‘a taste of illusion’.
12 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5A
Late opening on Thursdays until 9pm