Around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie, find the old work of three great conceptual minds standing side by side in the Buchmann Galerie’s solitary room. Here witness Tony Cragg, Daniel Buren and Tatsuo Miyajima take ideas regarding space and self-reflection and toss them from one wall to another, at the same time attempting to enlighten the way that you, the viewer, perceive yourself.
Walk in, and turn first to Daniel Buren’s alluringly simple piece from the early 90s. With this work, the French artist justifies the link between himself and “abstract minimalism,” one which has been casually slung around creative circles for years in an attempt to define the man who can’t seem to drag himself away from the allure of vertical stripes. Here, within Sans titre, the lines are welcomed by the arms of familiarity and one begins to wonder at how simplicity can be so beautiful. The stripes slide elegantly down the transparent plexi-glass and like a vortex of creativity it is not only the wall behind the glass that is drawn into willing participation but also your own silhouette as well as the space that lingers behind you.
A vortex of self reflection.
Take a step away and see, surprised, that whilst you were innocently gazing into Buren’s vision, Tatsuo Miyajima’s Counter had stolen your feet; taken them ruthlessly from you without your knowledge. The Japanese artist lures away your wayward reflection and invites it to join his arrangements of mirrors which both lie across the floor and lean against the wall. His piece takes you, not as its focal point, but as its periphery vision; whereas we remain on the edge catching glances of ourselves here and there, what lies resolutely at its centre is nothingness; negative space filled, in this case, by the cold, grey floor.
Self-contemplation continues to confidently reflect itself back at you in the third and final piece by Tony Cragg. Here, black acrylic revolutionizes the transparency of glass so that it is transformed; no longer a window but now a mirror, in front of which you stand face to face with your very self. This exhibition is not for the faint-hearted, although subtle aesthetics permeate a higher plain of conceptual art, the three artists work together to ask us to consider our cosmic relevance as existentialism begins to creeps up over our shoulder.
- Buchmann Galerie Tony Cragg, Daniel Buren, Tatsuo Miyajima, 27th June – 4th August 2012, Tue-Sat 11am – 6pm (Price Range: Not for Sale)