Installation: Until 8 Feb, 2015. Cyanotype workshop: 6 Dec, 2014
It’s got quite a title – the new installation at the Barbican Centre’s Curve gallery by the London born, L.A based artist Walead Beshty, especially for a show that is, on one level, so straightforwardly inviting and easy on the eye. You want to look and look at ‘A Partial Disassembling of an Invention Without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in Which the Pulleys and Cogwheels Are Lying Around at Random All Over the Workbench’, and the more you do so, the more rewarded you become. The show, which is made up of over 12,000 cyanotype prints (cyan blue photograms) created over a year using objects found in Beshty’s studio, and, while he has been in London, in and around the Barbican, works on so many levels. The impact of the blue prints mounted together to cover the long curving wall of the Curve is show-stoppingly good. But this is also an installation that is rich and humming with detail. As you start to look closer, you realise that you can actually ‘read’ the prints as a diary of a year in an artist’s life. Here are to-do lists, letters, notes, and the negatives of a huge slew of objects that have passed through or remain part of Beshty’s studio and working life. It’s a fascinating and beautiful collage that becomes more intriguing, and, conversely, more mysterious the more you examine it. We love it.
It’s also an inspiring show – in a proper, let’s-get-going way. Cyanotypes are easy to make, once you’ve been shown how, and incredibly satisfying to do, as you don’t need to have drawing or painting skills to create lovely images. We know because we took this workshop in September, which we loved, and so we highly recommend learning how to do it yourself, which you can do by signing up for the Cyanotype Making Workshop at the Barbican on 6 December. There will be three hourly workshop sessions at 11am, noon and 2pm, which are all free, but spaces are limited so do sign up now. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a place. Both adults and children are welcome – and it’s a fabulous thing to do with kids.