With the thought-provoking Outsider Art exhibition at Wellcome Collection due to close soon, here’s another look at art on the fringes. This exhibition has a much broader scope, featuring artists from all over the world and from different time periods, from those with no formal art training down to artists who are clearly a few paintings short of a gallery.
George Widener has created seemingly meaningless number sequences but claims that hyper-intelligent robots would be able to interpret his patchworks with relative ease. While Richard Greaves’ ramshackle unstable structures look like an ideal horror movie prop, and as if they could collapse in on him at any moment.
Though these artists remain convinced of the validity of their theories, they always have a positive, if unbelievable message to convey. Paul Laffoley might feel certain that he possesses alien knowledge but his only goals are world peace and sustainability. Rammelzee is a sculptor who believes his adopted name to be a quantum mechanics equation, but his skateboard army suspended from the ceiling is at least as fun as it is imposing.
More bizarre theories abound in Guo Fengyi’s ‘painted prescriptions’, which she deems to have healing powers, and James Carter who believes gravity to be an illusion and that the Earth simply moves up every time we see an object fall.
The two highlights of this exhibition are Marcel Storr’s brutalist drawings of towering cathedrals and colourful megalopolises, and the Congolese artist Bodys Izek Kingelez whose fantastical model buildings would be more at home in Willy Wonka’s factory rather than any actual city skyline.
This is a truly bizarre show of the weird and wonderful, but it’s a fun journey for anyone with an open mind and a sense of humour.
Alternative guide to the universe is on at Hayward Gallery, South Bank until 26 August. Tickets are £11, concessions available. Tickets also cover entry to the affiliated Museum of Everything exhibition.