Moshe Ladanga

Simplicity: Peter Campus at the Albion Gallery

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The first thing I saw when we entered was an empty reception desk that sort of disappeared into the sheer corporate white of the gallery. The place smelled like old ivory, the dead scent of wealth and esteem. It was the Albion Gallery, housed in a architectural puzzle (a building that aspires to be fat, not tall), and facing the Thames.

It was windy, the cold snap of air still caught in my lungs as we sauntered in. I really wanted to see this, and after the endless whirlwind of the past weeks, we finally got the time to go (April 25, that was the day). At first there were a series of scenes that were playing in screens embedded in two conjoined walls forming a wedge. They were like paintings, done in a forthright manner. Scenes of solace, I think, views from a coast that invited reflection and peaceful ponderance.

His early installations were further in, so we left the videos and marched in.

That’s the thing- the installations work so seamlessly that you stop in your tracks. The first one had a mirror slowly turning in front of a camera, and below, the image captured is replayed on a TV. All you see is a part of your image, being created and being erased, turn after turn.

The second installation was a square stage, with monitors and cameras positioned at each corner. We stepped on to it, and it was a pleasurable surprise to discover a clever play of perception, with each camera positioned to induce a subtle sense of disorientation; you end up not knowing which camera is responsible for which image on each monitor.

The third one was a bit tricky, requiring a bit of patience. It was just a projection on a wall, with a soft spotlight at a particular position on the floor. I stood there for a while, quite frustrated that nothing was happening. But When I returned to it later and discovered the spotlight, I stood there and suddenly my image appeared on the screen, upside-down, then rotating.

The one that moved me the most was the last one, which was actually quite simple. It was another projection on the wall, and there were two cameras right beside the projection. At first, my initial impulse was to walk past it, hoping to trigger it in a way. And I did, my image walking with me on the wall. But then, after 5 seconds, another image of me walked past, quite different, and I was so shocked to see my expression, my countenance.

The second camera, angled precisely to catch a slightly different angle of the viewer, recorded the event and replayed it in a calculated delay, with the first shot slowly dissolving into the other. I figured this one out on the bus home. I also saw that he used a red filter for all the cameras (all of the installations video imagery were in black&white) which made people’s images softer, more refined. But beside all of these technical details, I left the gallery feeling something real, not quite the thing you’d expect from such an imposing and clinical edifice.

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Written by mosheladanga

April 29, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Posted in Reflections

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