Disco Balls And Fish Arrive At The Serpentine Galleries

Marc Camille Chaimowicz & Helen Marten, Serpentine Galleries ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 19 months ago

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Disco Balls And Fish Arrive At The Serpentine Galleries Marc Camille Chaimowicz & Helen Marten, Serpentine Galleries 4
Disco balls and live fish are all part of Marc Camille Chaimowicz's installation. © Hugo Glendinning

The Serpentine galleries have opened a pair of chaotic installations that prompt you to explore all the stories and details that can be found within.

At the Serpentine 'classic' is Marc Camille Chaimowicz's 'home' — An Autumn Lexicon. Curtains are pulled across the windows, and there are desks and pot plants dotted around — all very cosy. Yet as we walk through, we start to feel voyeuristic: these are snapshots of someone's life and we're spying on uninhabited rooms.

And the rest of the installation is just as surreal with a homely feel to it. © Hugo Glendinning

This sense of voyeurism is compounded by a diamond cut out in the wall into which you can peer, as well as subtle changes to the skylights which make the, look more like windows.

An Autumn Lexicon takes a radical turn on the other side of the gallery with a darkened section that is a recreation of a show the artist originally staged in 1972. There are disco balls, music and mini-ponds filled with fish in a playful mix of art history and pop culture references from the time.

Helen Marten's drunk brown house is just as chaotic over at the Serpentine Sackler. Photo © Annik Wetter

Over at the Serpentine Sackler is the work of Helen Marten, one of the nominees for this year's Turner Prize.

Her work is subtler than Chaimowicz's but is just as fun to explore. Every visit is liable to lead to new discoveries as there is so much detail packed into this show, whether it be handmade bricks or the subtle outline of a witch that you spot.

There's great depth, both figuratively and literally, to these sculptural paintings. Photo © Annik Wetter

What's great about both these exhibitions is you could spend minutes or hours exploring each space and making new discoveries.

Neither artist is telling the visitor what to see or feel. It's as if they've both designed exhibitions where the audience and artist are both exploring the nature of their own art practice.

Whether you take it all in quickly or spend hours poring over the details, these are two engaging exhibitions that are rewarding to explore.

Marc Camille Chaimowicz: An Autumn Lexicon is on at Serpentine gallery and Helen Marten: Drunk Brown House is on at Serpentine Sackler gallery. Both exhibitions are on until 20 November and are free to visit.

Last Updated 30 September 2016