Exhibition visit: Jewyo Rhii at Wilkinson Gallery

Shamefully, I’ve never visited Wilkinson Gallery before. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have been so bowled over by Sung Hwan Kim’s installation in the Tate Modern Tanks a couple of years ago, because Kim had already had two solo shows at Wilkinson which contained some of the work shown at the Tate.

So, will we see Jewyo Rhii’s work in the Tate in a couple of years’ time? Rhii currently has work installed on both floors of the gallery – and very spacious it is.

Downstairs there are two main themes – some flimsy-looking wooden typewriter-like contraptions, and a large installation entitled Cooling System. The most eye-catching part of the latter installation is a solid block of ice which is gradually melting into an aluminium bowl. Meanwhile, on the other side of the room an electric fan circulates air that has been cooled by a basket of ice cubes, only blowing it as far as another unpowered fan which does nothing apart from rotate gradually thanks to the air blown by the first fan.

What do these Heath Robinson-style devices mean? I’m really not sure, but they are pleasantly random.

The upstairs gallery had a fan being put to better use: driving a contraption which rotated something which looked like a water wheel containing transparencies allowing images to be projected onto a darkened screen.

In the suffocating mid-summer heat, the artist took pity on an electric fan that worked hard but didn’t produce anything useful – only blew hot air – and modified it to take on a more productive and important duty. In this new role, the fan oscillates through sequential, documentary drawings of scenes that had unfolded in the Night Studio inside a portable theatre made by draping black rubber sheet over a desk.

The exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery runs till 26 October.

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