Thursday, 26 January 2012

Raphael Hefti: Launching Rockets Never Gets Old

This review has been published by the Londonist

Verdict: Go see it
Where: Camden Arts Centre, Hampstead
When: 20 January - 18 March 2012

Swiss artist Raphael Hefti specialises in interfering with the formation of materials and presenting the outputs. In his first solo UK exhibition, he focuses on the formation of glass.

Large panes of reflective glass have been altered to only reflect certain blue and yellow wavelengths of light, but the alteration was made while the glass was forming so it doesn’t have the artificial feel that you would associate with a colour filter.

As you walk around the room surrounded by these ‘mirrors’ what you see is a mildly surreal reflection of yourself and everybody else in the room. This exhibit highlights the link between colour and emotions, as a yellow reflection of you seems brighter and more hopeful while the blue reflection creates a more sombre tone – this may not be the reason why the expression ‘feeling blue’ came about, but after seeing your reflection in Hefti’s work you’ll think it should be.

However, the highlight of the exhibition is on display outside the gallery — two photographs of the patterns created when Lycopodium spores are burnt over photosensitive paper (Lycopodium being a type of club moss). Burning spores should create random patterns but the seamless interaction of the intense colours provides the illusion that Hefti has precisely directed the spores to create the effect he was after.

Though the photographs were created by tiny spores, they seem like representations of an event on a much grander scale with one photograph resembling a tumultuous ocean filled with different coloured dyes and the other an exploding star.

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