I wrote a while back on the Kubrick exhibition that’s steadily making its way around the globe, and what a treat it is for the fan of the great filmmaker. That show still hasn’t come to London, but I went to see the new Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick yesterday, at Somerset House, and am reporting back to anyone interested and wondering whether it’s worth the trip. The show is described as a ‘new exhibition, curated by Mo’Wax and UNKLE founder, artist and musician James Lavelle, featuring a host of contemporary artists, film makers and musicians showcasing works inspired by Stanley Kubrick.’ Interesting idea, but are the results any good?
Having been advised to pre-book a ticket, I thought the place might be rammed. As you can see from the picture above, it was pretty quiet and one could have just wandered in without a reservation. It was good that it was so empty, from the visitor’s point of view, because many of the pieces in the show are immersive installations that really benefit from being alone in them. Here’s the second thing you see (the first being a portrait of the man in question by his wife, Christiane):
This piece, by Mat Collinshaw, projects the face of a chimp over the image of a skull, all inside a space helmet. It’s called Alpha-Omega and is of course a response to 2001. Beyond this subtle beginning to the show, you enter this corridor, which fans of The Shining will appreciate:
Around 20 rooms line this spine of the show, containing a total of 45 pieces of work. Some are very explicit references to Kubrick works, some less so, and take a moment or two to spot the connection to the film (or films) being alluded to. Here are one or two pieces I enjoyed the most. Room 7 (and it’s a shame they didn’t contrive a room 237) contains work by James Lavelle himself, amongst others, and includes this oversized teddybear referencing A Clockwork Orange, as well as numerous boxes from Jack’s imprisonment in the pantry of The Overlook hotel. The colour in this photo is more or less accurate, the room being lit by eerie red neon.
Visual and aural disturbance is a clear theme in the show, with many pieces reflecting this nature of much of Kubrick’s work. There’s a room by Haroon Mirza and Anish Kapoor for example, which I challenge you to stand in for more than a minute with your eyes open. Strobing light and sound producing nausea rather rapidly, if not entirely meaningfully. However, just at the end of the corridor nearby, is this:
…And the second one was this, by Jane and Louise Wilson, based on one of the most famous of the movies that Kubrick never managed to make; Aryan Papers. Using stills from Kubrick’s infamously intensive research process, the Wilsons simply project image after image with a simple voiced description of what the photo contains. Many of the images and film clips are of Kubrick’s chosen actress, Johanna ter Steege.