Chiharu Shiota & Jonas Burgert

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I have passed Blain|Southern’s gallery numerous times – its on a walking route I regularly use between Oxford and Regent Streets. The latest work on display by Chiharu Shiota looks really fantastic. However when I have passed the gallery has not been open, so have had to settle for a view through the windows of the gallery. Today was my first opportunity to actually go inside and see Chiharu Shiota’s work – Me Somewhere Else – close up and it is an absolute must. I also recommend viewing the work of Jonas Burgert although it may not be to everyone’s taste.

There are just four days left before the exhibition closes so hurry up and see it if you are somewhere around Oxford Circus, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street, The Palladium, the Apple store or Carnaby Street in the next few days.

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Chiharu Shiota’s site-specific installation represents a human being – the shoes at the base of the installation to begin with. What transpires above these shoes is anyone’s guess – it could be a neural network, a capillary system, whatever. The artists’ use of red is excellent – its an alluring and relaxing colour too even though for most of us it usually represents danger. The work is said to represent the human consciousness somewhere else other than the body itself.

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The work is simple. It doesn’t need any description. Its symbolic enough. In Shiota’s own words “I feel that my body is connected to the universe but is my consciousness as well? When my feet touch the earth, I feel connected to the world, to the universe that is spread like a net of human connections, but if I don’t feel my body anymore where do I go? Where do I go when my body is gone? When my feet do not touch the ground anymore.” Source: Blain|Southern

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Here’s a quick look at some of Shiota’s other work at the exhibition. There are twelve other pieces besides Me Somewhere Else.

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Shiota’s smaller State of Being with State of Being (Travel Guide), Black Hole and Skin (on the wall) in the background.

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State of Being (Dress)

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Jonas Burgert’s work schlagen und bleiben consists of his pencil compositions and is the first exhibition that focuses on his drawings as an independent body of work. Most of his work consists of colour tableaux that tell stories with a close focus on human psychology and emotion.

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Burgert’s drawings and paintings are said to be a modern version of the works by the 15th century artist Hieronymous Bosch who created many fantastical artworks showing macabre or nightmarish scenes.

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Part of Burgert’s main work – schlagen und bleiben.

Whilst the drawings look somewhat eerie, perhaps unsettling, they are fantastic. Burgert does his compositions in such a way they inevitably draw one to look at the characters he depicts more closely. Who are they and what is their situation/appearance telling us about people in general? Are these scenes a depiction of what we regularly dream, confused, disassociated, perplexing but at the same time leave a lasting impression in our memories.

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Left to right: Kür Führt, gleich nur, furch and schlagen und bleiben.

Burgert’s work depicts ‘the inexhaustible theatre’ play he considers to be human existence the need to make sense of a purpose in life. “It is a quest that seems inconclusive, but which opens doors to every sphere of reasoning, imagination and desire.” Source: Blain|Southern

Just to remind, the exhibitions close this Saturday, 19th January. They are well worth seeing however. Go!

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