The tunnels under Waterloo station provide for an atmospheric setting, which the Old Vic Tunnels has utilised to great effect. The rhythmic pulsing of trains overhead injects an energy into the venue, making it the perfect setting for the works of David Breuer-Weil. He’s assembled a large selection of paintings and sculptures to inhabit this deceptively cavernous space.
His art works best at scale and therefore it’s his larger works that are the most powerful. Emergence is a transitional series of sculptures of a ‘stone’ golem appearing out of the murky water and looks as if it could herald the start of an invasion. Brainbox is a massive chunk of a marble head that could just as well be the remnants of a lost Mesoamerican civilisation.
But it’s the paintings that are the star attraction and there are plenty of them – grouped into themes in line with the artist’s vision. They range from playful works in one archway where landscapes concertina, spiral and tie themselves into knots, to a darker room where contorted people are stacked into giant totems.
The theme of cyclical creation and destruction and of another world below ours pervades throughout this exhibition. But there’s also a sense of the passing of time as towns are swallowed by the earth and a strong environmental message as a giant broom sweeps greenery aside. But by using surreal imagery such as armies of shadowy figures emerging from giant cardboard boxes, the playful nature ensures that the works never come across as sombre.
This is an entertaining exhibition of dystopian visions set in the perfect venue to reflect its themes. It may be hidden away but it’s definitely worth seeking out.
David Breuer-Weil: Project 4 is on display at The Vaults, Arch 233, Leake St, SE1 7NN until 24 March. Admission is free.