For the latest installation at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Lutz Bacher has populated the space with two bizarre and engaging installations.
Downstairs the theme is all about the colour black with one wall covered with a black astroturf surface which visibly vibrates as visitors walk past. Yet even that pales compared to the lower gallery which has been filled with black silicate and viewers are encouraged to walk on it.
It feels similar to walking on sand but its black colour gives the illusion of walking on the surface of an alien planet. This is reinforced by a strange metal sculpture that resembles the rusting remains of a lunar exploratory vehicle and a speaker that quotes Shakespeare in a staccato fashion, as if it’s been put through a translation device.
The addition of a cracked mirror provides an art house science fiction feel to this bizarre, yet compelling, experience.
The upstairs rooms look completely different with walls coated in gold as if entering some dictator’s gaudy palace. On one side we have a cardboard cut out of a cartoon horse on a rotating platform casting creepy shadows on the wall that are in contrast to the character’s comical grin.
Opposite this is a chess board populated with broken chess pieces, Elvis, a dinosaur and a model of a camel. It’s just as surreal as downstairs but is purposefully more kitschy and superficial.
Visitors will all take something different away from this exhibition and some may be utterly confounded. But if you embrace the surreal nature of this exhibition, it makes for a compelling experience.
Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty is on at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH until 17 November. Entrance is free.