East Wing Biennial - Courtauld Institute - London
This student run Biennial inaugurated by Joshua Compston in 1991 when a student himself, finds the fabric of the institute being mined for meaning. A diverse selection of works by known and lesser known practioners populate the labyrinthine rooms in a series of thoughtful groups. Perhaps the two most striking elements and those of most interest to the readers of DTA would be Marco Maggi's astonishing wall piece and Anastasia Brozler's three diffused fragrance works. Maggi has lined the curve of a stairwell with meticulous, hand-cut architectural figures. Simultaneously referencing complex built landscapes and hieroglyphic constellations these fragile and hallucinatory constructions create a compelling tension between the surfaces they cover and the whole idea of permanence and history. Anastasia Brozler has introduced three fragrances which, while referencing ideas throughout the exhibition and indeed ideas resident in other parts of Somerset House itself, exist as stand alone works in their own right. She riffs on themes of utopia/distopia, irresistibly evoking the sublime and the corrupt. Aromas at once familiar and strange demark zones within the building reminding us of the limitations of sight in defining boundaries. Olfaction is an underused, poorly understood medium but in this context aroma's power as a material is deftly demonstrated. In an environment rich with academic rigor and tradition, there is something rather confronting about work which completely bypasses the conscious mind and reaches for older, darker parts of the psyche. The frangranced element is not always present so do check the exhibition schedule for 'manifestations" Until June 30th 2017.