‘What’s this exhibition about then?’ Yannick asked me when I suggested opening our 2015 art season with a trip to the White Rainbow. ‘Time,’ I said. But actually, it’s not so much about time as measuring time, and the different ways in which measuring it can make it seem as though its going faster or slower. Here’s what I mean.
Temporal Measures is a group exhibition of three artists, Futo Akiyoshi, Kouichi Tabata and Takahiro Ueda. Of the three, it’s Ueda’s work that occupies most of the gallery space and is most obviously about time, as it consists of a variety of clocks running at different speeds. Three clock faces run off artificial quartz and keep accurate time. They are paired with three clock faces running off natural quartz, whose variations cause variations in the speed of the clocks so that, though they all started off at the same time when the exhibition began, they now show wildly different results.
So here’s the right time:
And here’s the wrong time:
Ueda’s carefully detailed drawings of the natural quartz he uses are also included in the exhibition.
Akiyoshi, on the other hand, makes time stand still. His glowing golden paintings capture light and perspective by the patient addition of more layers of gold. They’re subtle and lovely.
His white pantings are made to deceive. Look straight at one and there is nothing there, just a white canvas, but look at it from an angle and shadowy shapes appear.
Tabata’s work at first looks like the repetition over and over again in different colours of a single print.
But it’s no such thing. Each seemingly identical picture is actually a separate drawing, painstakingly made to resemble the others in every detail. It’s like an animation made from series of stills, except that this animation doesn’t move when you run through the stills, it just stays the same, only the colours changing.
They are fascinating artists, challenging you to think again about time and what it means. Well worth a visit.
The White Rainbow Gallery is on Mortimer St, close to Oxford Circus. The Temporal Measures exhibition continues until 24th January, and the gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 12 to 6 pm, Saturday 12 to 7 pm.