Art That's Literally Shocking: Ben Woodeson Electrocutes Us

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 25 months ago
Art That's Literally Shocking: Ben Woodeson Electrocutes Us ★★★☆☆ 3
The downstairs gallery glows red with the level of neon on display.
The downstairs gallery glows red with the level of neon on display.
These floor tiles may seem harmless but give a noticeable electric shock when touched.
These floor tiles may seem harmless but give a noticeable electric shock when touched.
A clamp holds a piece of glass that appears to be bending to the point of breaking.
A clamp holds a piece of glass that appears to be bending to the point of breaking.
A piece of metal seems to be collapsing under its own weight.
A piece of metal seems to be collapsing under its own weight.
In this surreal work, a pane of glass slices into a table.
In this surreal work, a pane of glass slices into a table.
Billiard balls balance precariously as they are leaned up against the gallery wall.
Billiard balls balance precariously as they are leaned up against the gallery wall.

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

The shock factor has been a part of the art landscape for some time now, ranging from a soiled bed to paintings made of dead flies. But this is the first time we've actually been electrocuted by a work of art.

A set of panels for visitors to walk over are inspired by Carl Andre, who courted controversy with a set of bricks people could walk across. But there is a key difference here and should you reach down and place a finger each on two alternative panels, then you will receive a pulse of 2,000 volts — it's not enough to cause any physical harm but we definitely felt the kick.

It aligns with the theme of this solo show, where materials and objects are made to behave in ways we would not expect them to. A pane of glass looks like it has sliced apart a table and 99 billiard balls in a receptacle are precariously balanced on a slender glass rod.

Sheet metal is folded over as if it's about to fall and downstairs the gallery is bathed in a red glow from contorted neon lights. These explorations of materials are playful, resulting in a fun and enjoyable exhibition.

Ben Woodeson is at Berloni, 63 Margaret Street, W1W 8SW until 1 August. The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday and entrance is free.

For more art, see Fiona Tan's squat referencing the economic crisis, a great double bill at the Serpentine galleries and a £1 coin valued at £10,000.

Last Updated 05 June 2015