Tadashi Kawamata's Rickety Stairs Break Through The Gallery Floor

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 41 months ago
Tadashi Kawamata's Rickety Stairs Break Through The Gallery Floor ★★★★★ 5
Light shines through the slats of the stairs from both above and below. Photo Tabish Khan
Light shines through the slats of the stairs from both above and below. Photo Tabish Khan
These small huts suspended in mid-air have something of a bird's nest feel about them. Photo Tabish Khan
These small huts suspended in mid-air have something of a bird's nest feel about them. Photo Tabish Khan
This is one of several architectural maquettes in the exhibition. Photo Tabish Khan
This is one of several architectural maquettes in the exhibition. Photo Tabish Khan
One floor is dominated by the tunnels made out of wooden pallets. Photo Tabish Khan
One floor is dominated by the tunnels made out of wooden pallets. Photo Tabish Khan
This large scale favela dominates one wall. Photo Tabish Khan
This large scale favela dominates one wall. Photo Tabish Khan
Many of the passageways lead to dead ends. Photo Tabish Khan
Many of the passageways lead to dead ends. Photo Tabish Khan

Londonist Rating: ★★★★★

Annely Juda Fine Art is slightly hidden away, just off Bond Street and on the third and fourth floors of an unassuming building. Inside is a great gallery space across two floors which has been home to exhibitions featuring well known artists like Leon Kossoff and Anthony Caro. But for their latest exhibition this pristine space has been completely transformed by Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata.

He is an artist-cum-architect who has populated the gallery's top floor with architectural models of favelas and tree houses, which at this scale resemble bird's nests. But these are simply the prelude for the massive installation that dominates the gallery's three floors. A wooden staircase seems to have organically grown out through the gallery, starting in the usually off limits store room, punching through two floors and extending all the way to the skylight.

It's a strange feeling climbing to the skylight and looking across West End rooftops and noticing that they are all rather grim, mostly other skylights and air conditioning units. The light from above percolates through the wooden slats of the stairs giving the ascent a certain religiosity as well as changing our view of the gallery.

Down one floor the wooden installation extends into a series of curving tunnels that sometimes come to dead ends. The Royal Academy's Sensing Spaces was one of our favourite exhibitions of last year, and this sense of exploring art and architecture within a gallery space is recreated by Kawamata and the result is wondrous.

Tadashi Kawamata: Stairs is on at Annely Juda Fine Art, 3rd and 4th floors, 23 Dering Street, W1S 1AW until 21 March. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 01 March 2015