Michelangelo Pistoletto – Serpentine Gallery

Hidden in amongst the trees and paths of Hyde Park is the wonderfully obscure Serpentine Gallery.  Housed in a gothic Victorian/Edwardian retreat is a massive piece of installation art by world-renowned artist Michelangelo Pistoletto.  Pistoletto has been a massive name in contemporary art for years, with a lifetime achievement award given at Venice Biennale in 2003.  His work has often been monumental and well ahead of his peers and this piece cements this nicely.

The Mirror of Judgement is a mass labyrinth of cardboard, maze-like in it’s confusing nature, dominating the whole gallery space with various pieces by other artists sat in dead ends like little prizes given for trying to find your way out.

The mirror theme in general works well with the building itself, creating infinite space in the skylights and walls, adding further to the mass of cardboard already eating away at the gallery space.  At the centre of it all is a superb sculpture, like finding the end of the maze (though in reality it’s only half way round).  It consists of a giant mirrored prism surrounded by what look like black, physical crop circles.  It’s beyond Science Fiction in its elements and seems to hint at the way shapes fit and coexist in the same way people do.  It’s also a very fitting middle/end to the exhibition, like an unexpected climax in the middle.  The theme of infinity and everlasting time is constantly present and is demonstrated best by a stature of Galleria Continua who’s scrabbling at a mirror to get out but seems forever trapped in the ravages of an infinite and twisting world.  The usual display of infinite mirrors was also there but it’s a concept that’s been aped to death by various artists and even scientists.

As a whole though, the space has been used well, the atmosphere is chilling and the work itself fantastic.  The space itself is open till the 17th of September 2011 so do go and explore the maze of infinity if you’re around the Hyde Park area.

Also at the Serpentine till the 16th of October 2011 is Peter Zumthor’s use of the Serpentine Summer Pavilion.  Though initially seeming like a giant black box, when entered, the viewer is dazzled by a world of colour and life.  The area is filled to the brim with colourful flowers with a space for light made above them in the roof.  Though it’s hard to tell whether there’s been any order in the way they’ve been planted, it really doesn’t matter and can simply be seen as a thing of beauty rather than meaning.  To add to this, the gallery’s massive and well laid out art book shop and it seems like a very worthwhile trip to make if you’re ever around Kensington Gore.

Adam Scovell

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