Guns In A Gallery By Chu Enoki

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 41 months ago
Guns In A Gallery By Chu Enoki ★★★★☆ 4
AK-47s and AR-15s face off in a reference to the cold war. Installation view
AK-47s and AR-15s face off in a reference to the cold war. Installation view
A row of AK-47s within the gallery. Installation view.
A row of AK-47s within the gallery. Installation view.
A cannon that was fired as part of the performance on the opening night, firing petals and confetti into the gallery. Installation view.
A cannon that was fired as part of the performance on the opening night, firing petals and confetti into the gallery. Installation view.
Chu Enoki travelled around Europe with one half of his head clean shaven and the other half hairy, documenting his trip with photographs. Copyright Chu Enoki.
Chu Enoki travelled around Europe with one half of his head clean shaven and the other half hairy, documenting his trip with photographs. Copyright Chu Enoki.
The artist stands in front of these mirror images where one side of his face was clean shaven for a year and then he switched sides. Installation view.
The artist stands in front of these mirror images where one side of his face was clean shaven for a year and then he switched sides. Installation view.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

White Rainbow is a gallery that opened late last year with the aim of bringing Japanese art to the UK. They've had strong shows so far but this latest exhibition is their strongest yet and easily the most visually arresting.

When we were in the gallery we saw plenty of people walking by who would stop and stare at the tens of assault rifles inside. Chu Enoki has cast iron rows of AK-47s and Colt AR-15s, Russian and American weapons respectively, clearly referencing the Cold War as they stand off against each other.

But there is deeper meaning within these sculptures, as the assault rifles are two of the most widely distributed weapons across the world. The AR-15 has been sold to many civilians in the US and the AK-47 is arguably the world's most recognisable weapon, having been widely adopted by militia all over the globe. It made us think of how the spectre of conflict has changed from a face-off of superpowers to something more complex and multi-faceted.

Enoki's other work involved him shaving half his head and letting his hair, moustache and beard grow on the other. As he travelled around Europe he was stared at and stopped by police on multiple occasions. It's a humorous comment on how two distinct, yet acceptable, looks can be seen by some as subversive when combined.

Chu Enoki has been making work that challenges perceptions since the 1960s, yet still remains relatively unknown in the UK — though this excellent and engaging show should go some way to redressing this fact.

Chu Enoki: Enoki Chu is on at White Rainbow, 47 Mortimer St, W1W 8HJ until 11 April. Entrance is free.

For more great art to see in London, see February's most talked about and  top 10 art exhibitions.  

Last Updated 23 February 2015