The P3 Gallery – a part of the University of Westminster’s Marylebone campus - has currently been transformed into an incredible ‘sci-fi esque’ setting for David Hall’s exhibition End Piece…. The vast gallery looks like an industrial warehouse, and was actually used to stress test concrete in a former life, but became a versatile gallery/arts space a decade or so ago. End Piece, the work which is responsible for this present transformation, contains a thousand odd second hand CRT TV’s, of various shapes, sizes & ages. They have been installed onto scaffolding grids, each ‘plumbed’ with an aerial from above and power from underneath the structure. The TV’s have been placed at seemingly random angles facing up. Their respective square cells contain netting to support them and keep them elevated. With only the light from the sets to illuminate the space the effect is astounding. In this sinister view, what is on display looks like a scene from the film Alien or some other dark fictional ‘space-age’ tale. The live feed gives the impression of a life supporting system, supplying the TV’s with life, and facilitating this work with sources of information. The surreal setting with its vast cabling running high up into the sky all meeting at a single point becomes increasingly bizarre as you walk around; and coupled with the incessant din from all the TV’s, this makes for a rather testing environment.
As I reflect upon this sea of television transmissions, I am confronted with a distinct sense of reminiscence. Resembling a ‘memento mori’ to the post modern era and a former, and some what dated ‘IT generation’. The work represents a grave yard of electrical parts and analogue signals. The show coinciding with the digital switch over is of no coincidence of course. The work has clearly been produce as a way of commenting on the end of the analogue age. There is also a reference to Hall’s own career and the notion of transition within this field of art itself. His seminal work 101 Television Sets shown in the Serpentine Gallery in 1971 has been used as a central topic, and one which is being ‘re-explored’ on a grand scale.
As one of the first artists to use what we now refer to as ‘Video’, Hall has been a pioneer of this media and various other pieces can also be seen in the exhibition. From Spooky Bill (1990) with its eerie feeling and direct reference to the dawning of television as a mechanical invention, to the ‘Orwellian’ inspired Progressive Recession (1974) - all help to give the show provocative material and make for a fascinating audio visual experience.
David Hall; End Piece…runs until the 22nd of April, so there is plenty of time to get down to The P3 gallery and enjoy this excellent show.