The Curve at the Barbican has become the exhibition space du jour for experiential art, having hosted the insanely popular Rain Room and most recently the theatre-inspired Intervals by Ayse Erkmen. Now comes the turn of United Visual Artists (UVA) who have created a light and sound art installation that might prove to be just as in-demand.
Visitors enter the darkened Curve gallery to see what seems like torch lights swinging back and forth on pendulums. It’s unnerving to stand alone in the darkness and visitors might find their pace quickening when moving between the spotlights, with the metallic chimes projected through the gallery further adding to this calm yet creepy mood.
Suddenly the installation grinds to a halt. You are plunged into darkness. It is claustrophobic — are the walls closing in? The lights come back on but this time from the top of the pendulums in a more diffuse manner. The soundtrack picks up and more people become visible through the haze.
As the pendulums swing back and forth they resemble a squadron of UFOs and the sci-fi-esque electronic sounds heighten this effect. It’s quite the experience and we walked the length of the gallery at least five times just to soak it all in.
It’s clear that UVA are building upon the work of some great pioneers of light art, most notably Anthony McCall, but this is a fantastic installation that is an evocative and engaging experience. One to remember.
United Visual Artists (UVA): Momentum is on at the Curve, Barbican Centre until 1 June. Entrance is free.