Charles Atlas – Glacier at Bloomberg SPACE
Glacier, at South London Gallery’s Bloomberg SPACE, is a video installation by the American-born film artist Charles Atlas. The piece is constructed using clips from the Bloomberg digital archives combined with stock footage from elsewhere.
Atlas has previously worked in collaboration with Serbian artist Marina Abramović and has worked alongside the band Antony and the Johnsons on the film Turning (2011), which is currently “touring” worldwide.
Glacier is projected onto three walls within Bloomberg SPACE and a soundtrack is provided courtesy of Bruce Gilbert and Editions Mego. The large scale of the projections pushes the viewer to consider their own size in relation to the human population and the vastness of the universe. Through the use of industrial footage, placed alongside scenes of crowds and marching ants, the viewer is made to feel small and yet part of a wider whole.
While it is possible to easily find a relationship between some of the clips used – for example, the images of flowering plants that contrast with manufacturing processes – others are more obscure. The piece does have a somewhat disorganised and random feel in places, and one might feel that the concept is lacking in originality.
One pleasing aspect however, is the dialogue between the gallery’s space and the film. The wooden bars that appear in one scene have physically materialised onto one of the walls. The use of blocks of colour and light within the loop’s transitions are also innovative.
The exhibition can be recommended to anyone who is interested in Atlas’ work or other contemporary film pieces. It is advisable, if at all possible, to visit while the gallery is relatively quiet as the atmosphere of the piece resonates within an empty or partially filled space, while the presence of a large crowd can prove a distraction.
Charles Atlas: Glacier is on at the South London Gallery’s Bloomberg SPACE until 30th March 2013. For further information please visit here.
Check out the worldwide tour of Turning here.