Alice Anderson Wraps Everything In Copper Wire ... And We Mean Everything

Alice Anderson: Memory Movement Memory Objects ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 27 months ago
Alice Anderson Wraps Everything In Copper Wire ... And We Mean Everything Alice Anderson: Memory Movement Memory Objects 4
The works in situ including a staircase and a flatscreen TV. Copyright Wellcome Collection
The works in situ including a staircase and a flatscreen TV. Copyright Wellcome Collection
Some things may become unrecognisable when entombed in copper, but not so for the iconic bottle shape of this popular soft drink. Courtesy of the Artist
Some things may become unrecognisable when entombed in copper, but not so for the iconic bottle shape of this popular soft drink. Courtesy of the Artist
This bike looks like it would have been quite hard to wrap tightly. Courtesy of the Artist
This bike looks like it would have been quite hard to wrap tightly. Courtesy of the Artist
These twisting ropes take up an entire gallery. Photo © Matt Holyoak
These twisting ropes take up an entire gallery. Photo © Matt Holyoak
A contorted and decapitated skeleton mixed with some Apple Mac plugs. Photo © Matt Holyoak
A contorted and decapitated skeleton mixed with some Apple Mac plugs. Photo © Matt Holyoak
A pair of spectacles is one of several smaller items on display. Photo © Matt Holyoak
A pair of spectacles is one of several smaller items on display. Photo © Matt Holyoak
A telescope shines instead of the stars it would usually see. Photo © Matt Holyoak
A telescope shines instead of the stars it would usually see. Photo © Matt Holyoak

Londonist Rating:

★★★★☆

The word mummification brings to mind images of ancient Egypt or B-movie zombies wrapped up in bandages. But what would modern mummification look like?

Artist Alice Anderson has chosen copper wire as her material of choice and has proceeded to use it to wrap several objects — including a telescope, a flatscreen TV and even a set of stairs. The process is delicately handled so even details like the knobs on an electric guitar are visible through the copper thread.

The most ambitious project is a 1967 Ford Mustang and as we watch it being wrapped, this calm and methodical process feels ritualistic, as though it may provide some spiritual release. The best part is that visitors will also be able to take part alongside the artist and her volunteers, either wrapping the car or other smaller objects that have been donated to the exhibition.

The end results in this dramatically-lit exhibition shimmer like the jewelled and gold objects that are found in museums.

As the exhibition progresses it becomes more challenging and ventures into the abstract. A jumble of rope snakes in one room and eight panels arranged in a circle feel like a modern day Stonehenge.

But the panoply of copper wire is not just an aesthetic gimmick, it asks deeper questions about what will be remembered from our age and how it will be recalled. It seems fitting to use copper wire to denote the communication age, and there's a certain irony about objects like a telephone and a camcorder being wrapped in a substance they may also have inside them.

As much as we love the usual information heavy exhibitions at the Wellcome Collection, this is a welcomed change of direction. It's fun, visually arresting and will leave you wondering what other things would look like wrapped in copper wire — Big Ben or a London bus perhaps?

Alice Anderson: Memory Movement Memory Objects is on at Wellcome Collection until 18 October. Entrance is free.

Nearby is the excellent Magna Carta exhibition at The British Library and glittering treasures, Aboriginal art and Napoleonic propaganda at The British Museum. For more art see July's major openings and most talked about art exhibitions.

Last Updated 29 July 2015