“Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?… Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”
-Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
The show features drawing-based works and brings together thirteen artists who each reflect on their current moment through personal, political and historical viewpoints, united by the common lens of time. Hailing from different backgrounds and artistic practices, the final whole is a nod to the concept of Eternalism, a space in which each moment exists in and of itself, an endless loop in which all these points exist at once. If, indeed, the idea really is that Everything Exists Now, then all moments are present simultaneously.
The artists are linked to each other by disparate yet complementary threads. Marie Harnett creates highly detailed and intricate drawings of films stills in pencil, framing the moment in time and capturing it permanently. These stills from Karenina have a calm and timeless beauty.
Barbara Walker’s images reposition the black servicemen and women who have fought in the British Armed Forces since 1914 but are rarely recognised as having a significant role. Her Shock and Awe series highlights the roles and work done.
Korean born, New York based artist, Sook Jin Jo comments on the present in her powerful Je Suis series. Combining photography with ink, charcoal and gouache, these works reference the recent violence in France, and stand as a symbol of strength, protection and freedom. Her work often has an environmental slant as well, something Celina Teague’s coloured pencil works also touch upon, with their preoccupation with the relentless and senseless slaughter of elephants and rhinos.
London based artist Caroline Jane Harris, meanwhile, has captured the fleeting composition of one of her pixelated hand-cut photographs.Slow Data (Window), is a drawing physically executed in layers akin to a 3D printer; the process reveals an image passing through the realms of the three-dimensional to the digital, alluding to the irreversible direction of time and technological obsolescence in our fast-paced age.
All histories, all thoughts, all memories, fragmented as they are over the sands of time, hover in the same moment; our pasts and presents and futures all hover in one, overarching ‘now’, and all we can do is seek to let go and float within it. Or, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut: “I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”
Participating artists: Dawit Abebe, Chris Agnew, Kristian Evju, Marie Harnett, Caroline Jane Harris, Sook Jin Jo, Ali Kazim, Mohamed Lekleti, Sverre Malling, Celina Teague, Saad Qureshi, Barbara Walker and Zhu Wei.