Spotlight on: Chisenhale Gallery

Elena Carofyllakis
November 10, 2021

Here at Hallett Independent, we are passionate about supporting public art institutions. This is the first in our new Spotlight series where we will escape into the art world to catch a glimpse of what the galleries we support are getting up to.

Hallett Independent is a patron of the Chisenhale Gallery and here we look back at one of their recent installations by Abbas Akhavan Curtain Call, Variations on a Folly.

With an award winning 39-year history as one of London’s most innovative forums for art, the Chisenhale Gallery has an experimental vision and commissions and produces contemporary art.

It believes in making cultural impact through working with artists, developing ideas in tandem from concept to completion. Located in a dynamic and creative residential neighbourhood in the heart of London’s East End, the Gallery is an evolving space for experimentation, transformed by each artist’s commission.

Curtain call, variations on a folly, was a commission by Montréal-based artist Abbas Akhavan. He filled the gallery with a large chroma key green screen (usually used to construct digital images) stage with an infinity wall and a series of column shaped sculptures made of cob, an ancient building material made of subsoil, water and straw. The cob installation is based on that of the colonnade that once approached the monumental Arch of Palmyra, a 2,000-year-old heritage site in Syria. The arch is thought to have been destroyed by Islamic State militants in 2015.

The green screen and cob used in the exhibition sit at opposite ends of the material spectrum, shifting perception through the manipulation of visual and sonic perspectives, Akhavan’s installation acts as a potential portal, where the green screen stage repositions the cob sculptures as placeholders that have the possibility to exist in any given space. A symbol of lost cultural legacy.

See what’s currently on at Chisenhale Gallery: