A couple of weeks ago Ms B & I ventured to 180 The Strand here in London to check out Ryoji Ikeda’s new exhibition. This multi-sensory exploration of light and sound will be taking place until 1 August, so don’t miss out on this. Short and sweet, the exhibition is called “RYOJI IKEDA.”
Please note that it would seem unlikely that you’ll be admitted if you’re running even only one minute late. They are on quite a strict regime there. We arrived three minutes before the timed entry and our group was ushered into the first room right on time.
180 The Strand has teamed up with Fact Magazine, The Vinyl Factory, and Audemars Piguet Contemporary to deliver this highly unusual show. The Guardian called it a “spectacular sensory overload” while TimeOut waxed lyrical about “brain-meltingly good art.” Topping it all off, the Londonist insisted that this was “one of the most intense art-experiences I’ve ever been through.”
As usual, 180 The Strand goes big. The exhibition is the largest so far of the artist, anywhere ever. It includes a number of world premieres such as the ‘Data-Verse Trilogy’ – three towering screens showing a “synapse-splitting new iteration of test patterns.” The curators ask all guests to “immerse themselves in Ikeda’s dynamic digital universe” and engage in a “subterranean exploration of sound and light.”
Amongst the twelve artworks are ‘Point of No Return’, an “intense audio-visualisation that creates a virtual experience akin to entering a black hole,” ‘Spectra III’, a tunnel of strobe lighting that premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2019 (feature photo of this post), and ‘A (Continuum)’, a sound installation consisting of six giant speakers.
Ellie & I found the ‘Data-Verse Trilogy’ and ‘Spectra III’ truly fascinating and rivetting, even mesmerizing, and at times almost blinding. ‘A (Continuum)’ consisting of inaudible sound for the most part seemed even crazier, but failed to impress. We didn’t quite see the point, the effect was lost on us, it seems.
Personally I found that tunnel where a digital stream flows above your head on the low ceiling an interesting visual experience. Equally I loved the effects of the carpet of light where patterns of colour and light were zigzagging across a precisely defined area on the ground at amazing speeds. Visitors are allowed to stand on the art and walk across it.
Overall this was a fresh, new, interesting exhibition, nicely curated, and with food for thought. 4 out of 5 in my book.
Looking for more fun things to do in and around London? Check out our posts about the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the V&A, ‘JR: Chronicles’ at Saatchi Gallery, the immersive Van Gogh Experience in Kensington Gardens, an immersive Leonardo experience at the National Gallery, our Sherlock Holmes escape room experience, and my attempts at stand-up paddling in Paddington Basin.