It’s dark by four and we’re in the middle of a sustained cold snap, but a hardy, not to say hardened, culture-vulture will still be tempted out by a private view or two. Last week, it was the opening of NULL OBJECT: Gustav Metzger thinks about nothing at WORK. The exhibition is the culmination of a collaboration between London Fieldworks and Gustav Metzger, fusing — pardon my science-illiterate interpretation — brainwaves, a computer interface and an industrial robotic drill to produce a 3D representation in Portland stone of the void of Metzger’s not-thinking. The object itself is beautiful and intriguing, a still thing to contemplate in the midst of the PV throng. There’s a DVD projection of the drill working away balletically at the stone while jets of water cascade over it to keep the stone cool; as mesmerising, somehow, as watching an open fire. And conceptually the work is full of undercurrents, philosophical, environmental, socio-political (dare I say). Thought provoking.
This week, the place to be was the October Gallery for the private view of All out of time and into space: artworks by William S. Burroughs. We were amongst the first to arrive, so had a good chance to see the paintings, collages and talismanic objects before the gallery got too packed. I’m not a Burroughsian (and I’m also not an art critic) but I liked a lot of the work, produced in the last decade or so of his life; I found it fresh and vivid — I want to say life-affirming — and also mysterious and at times comic. The marker pen and gunshot sketches are just wonderfully laconic. Definitely worth braving the near-zero temperatures to see.