It was the name of this exhibition that caught my attention and made me want to visit Embassy Gallery for the opening event. I have always been fascinated by Fractals, these patterns of chaos in absolute harmony, but how would that translate into an art exhibition and most importantly, what does the book Fractal Paisleys, written by Paul Di Filippo have to do with it?
The first thing you walked into when entering the gallery space was the Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Inspired by the Chauvet Cave in France, Jessy Jetpacks constructed – in only 9 days, as she told me – a very accurate replica of the paleolithic artwork and its environment but with an eye-catching twist; the figures on the wall were animals but with the head of people involved in sex scandals nowadays. She mentioned the anger and frustration generating this dark humorous representation of predators and I was surprised to hear that this is actually her first mainly sculptural installation, as she usually works in video and virtual reality. The fake fire and the shadows it created in the cave and on the actual paintings inspired a very strange sense of vulnerability on a very primitive level but at the same time bearing centuries of fear up to modern society. The audio addition of cave sounds and voices enriched the experience making it more realistic and I could see people walking in being in awe of the cave’s mysticism.
The next thing I found myself doing in that exhibition was playing with a ribbon, which, being attached to a metal dish of static electricity, was mobilised by human interaction! The ribbon looked a lot like a snake to me, but the artist, William Darrell, described it as a bee; the moment you touched it, it would die and you would feel a minor shock (instead of a sting) at your fingertip. All 3 of his sculptures were in motion and he worked really well with metal, marble and chains, his inspiration being everyday DYI objects, as he told me. I strangely realised that – probably because of their movement – I felt really close to these sculptures, a feeling very similar to the one have when I interact with animals. I felt sorry when people touched Field Creature and it would lose its power and I was captivated by the beautiful dance on the DNA-shaped Mechanical Honey Fountain.
Finally, I took a close look to Jake Russell’s Flags, his 9 small paintings on the walls of the main art space. They were all very bright and colourful, contrary to the video (Void Detective) about the artist’s inner goblin that I found quite dark and melancholic. He told me that even though manifested in two completely different ways, both artworks reflected his new endeavours in Glasgow and all the struggles around them. His flags were ‘lonely flags’ as he called them, and he is one of them. He usually paints as a he goes, discovering his own artworks in the process of producing them and the 9 Flags – Angel, Angel 2, Blue Star, Sun Box, Flags, Night Tree, Hot Flag, Shooting Star and Blue Bird– were the product of a 4 month process in his new base.
While leaving from the exhibition it finally occurred to me; like in Di Filippo’s book, this mix of different, bizarre art stories made perfect sense! All 3 of them were unusual yet beautifully blended together in terms of making remarks on everyday situations we’re pretty much all very familiarised with; power, domination, pleasure, loneliness – all very primordial emotions that connect us to a common past. It made perfect sense why this very interestingly curated exhibition had such a busy opening night!