I only found out about this exhibition while riding the escalator on the Tube and coming across an advert. And with only one day left in London, I thought it’d be a perfect way to spend my last day.
I was just as excited to visit the Barbican Centre itself as I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I’ve never been to. But then again, when it comes to free admissions to museums vs. paying to go to the Barbican, the former usually wins.
The Barbican Centre is hidden by commercial and corporate building but once revealed, I felt as if I was ironically stepped back in time, a 1960’s take on the future. Reminded me of the older Futurist buildings at my alma mater UC Irvine* (as well as a deserted Ape City)
Highlights of the exhibition included:
- When entering the exhibition itself, one is welcomed by Steamboat Bill Jr., the silent film starring Buster Keaton.
- Rebecca Horn’s Concert for Anarchy. It was quite funny watching everyone jump when the piano hanging from the ceiling “exploded.” (But not so much when I initially did the same).
- Robotic rats gettin’ busy!
- Alberto Giacometti’s Palace at 4am (and this would only make sense if you saw this).
- Original slides of Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus Funhouse for the World Trade Fair 1939. I found actual footage of the Funhouse itself here (pardon the cheesy Star Wars intro).
- Man Ray’s Elevage de Poussiere (Dust Breeding), the reverse of Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even.
Apart from my illegal photos which I was repeatedly yelled at for (I’m such a rebel), you can find better shots here.
After walking around the labyrinth of rooms, I was mentally exhausted due to sensory overload from spending time looking at all the paintings, installations, photography, and video clips. And it felt a little surreal (har har) walking around outside the Centre especially with no crowds. London’s grey and damp weather helped a bit too. Now if only some gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees would appear…
*While googling images of UCI’s original buildings it makes me wish I appreciated the architecture back then.
** Everyone knows Disney’s famous Steamboat Willie which happens to be a parody of Steamboat Bill Jr. Steamboat Bill Jr. was actually named after Arthur Collin’s song, Steamboat Bill. This would have been a fantastic continuing trend; however Disney copyrighted it thereby any reference to Steamboat Willie would be illegal. Such a shame. (And I happen to know this because the person I’m dating is a solicitor and he informed me of this tidbit of info while at the exhibition.)