26 February 2015 - 2 April 2015
Touch & Go
“The lamps will go out (as they should, no doubt)” – Dan Flavin
William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce Touch & Go, a solo exhibition of new work by William Mackrell.
There are certain experiences that are universal to us all. Perhaps foremost among them is the feeling of time marching on, unstoppable. We can all relate to lying awake and restless at night, feeling the clock creep towards dawn as the thoughts of the day race through our minds, or the sudden startling realisation that the city around us has changed without our noticing. In Touch & Go Mackrell explores these notions by creating a proposition which, once begun, passes out of our direct control and into the inevitable and unpredictable.
The floor of the gallery space is bisected from corner to corner by The lamps will go out (as they should, no doubt), a row of flickering and fading strip-lights sourced from artists' studios across London. The hum and cold glow of these halogen tubes were once synonymous with the converted offices and industrial buildings that often served, until recently, as artists' studios. These studios, like the dying lights, are blinking out one by one to be replaced with residential developments and transport terminals – they are becoming relics of the recent past.
The walls on either side are occupied by Sleep -negative- (16th September 2013) and Sleep -positive- (16th September 2013), a diptych of large perspex boxes containing works created by laying carbon paper under the sheets of the artist’s bed, tracing his nocturnal movements. The resulting positive and negative ‘drawings’ act as an intimate portrait, akin to automatic drawings; the true self is expressed in an unconscious moment.
The theme of sleep and restlessness continues with Soprano for Sleep Time App. For a period in the lead-up to this exhibition, the artist recorded his sleep patterns using an iPad sleep app placed under his pillow. The resulting data is expressed in a graph that has been overlaid with musical notations which will be interpreted in a live performance by a soprano at the private view and subsequently recorded.
As imprints of the artist that trace out his rhythms and cycles, the artworks exhibited in Touch & Go combine to become a self portrait. The personal scale of the works link them to our own bodies and our own experiences; we relate to them both physically and emotionally. In this lies the essence of Mackrell’s work: it is at once intensely personal and universally relatable, and in it we glimpse our own restless presence.