The Ambika P3, under the University of Westminster, is one of our favourite exhibition spaces and Elizabeth Ogilvie has made great use of the cavernous venue to create a show aimed squarely at highlighting the impacts of climate change.
The introductory video on the mezzanine provides a solid start to this experience with accounts from Inuit people on how their lives have been affected by the melting ice, and a display on the beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves.
The exhibition also ends with a video work following the British Antarctic survey. However, this staccato stop motion-esque film feels like it’s been too heavily stylised and the jarring way the footage is presented detracts from the message of the important work that these researchers are doing.
The centrepiece and top billing in this exhibition goes to two large pools of water on the floor that although very shallow appear to be infinitely deep due to the low lighting levels. As there is nothing separating viewers from the water’s edge, it’s akin to staring into an abyss and feels disconcerting.
The second pool is even larger but this time the lighting does allow visitors to see the bottom of the pool and this breaks the aforementioned illusion and lessens its impact. Yet the ice cubes hanging from the ceiling slowly melting and dripping in to the pool is a poignant touch.
Despite its imperfections, this is still an enjoyable and captivating exhibition but we felt that the message of climate change didn’t carry through from the videos to the installation and so the separate artworks don’t come together as a cohesive exhibition.
Elizabeth Ogilvie: Out of Ice is on at Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, NW1 5LS until 9 February. Admission is free.