Critics’ Picks

Dora Mejía, The Garden of Eden, 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Dora Mejía, The Garden of Eden, 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable.


“The Sky Is Falling”

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)
350 Sauchiehall Street
April 1–May 14, 2017

The city––its development, the facts of its habitation, its destruction, and its potential to be reimagined––encapsulates many of the themes of the Anthropocene. The works in this exhibition touch on issues of industry, capital, ecology, the displacement of people, war, and racism in a metropolitan context. The sense of entropy or collapse implied by the exhibition’s apocalyptic title is an important link between the individual pieces here.

Clara Ianni’s video Free Form, 2013, centers on two separate interviews from the late 1950s with Brasília’s planners, Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa, in which they deny knowledge of protests by employees who worked on their urban utopia during that decade. Ianni’s architectural focus leads well into both the satellite images in Dora Mejia’s installation The Garden of Eden, 2014, and Carol Rhodes’s paintings and drawings of aerial views. Baghdad, obscured by black smoke, poignantly stands out among the cities printed on the satin cushions of The Garden of Eden. Rhodes’s intricate works trace and develop imaginary edgelands, highlighting the often invisible complexes that supplement the activities of a contemporary city. Both Black Audio Film Collective and Laura Oldfield Ford populate their works with narratives linked to social and political histories. Ford’s psychogeographic monologue takes as its subject demolitions, redevelopments, and changing lifestyles in Glasgow. Likewise, the postwar narrative of BAFC’s film Twilight City, 1989, focuses on the financialization of London and the plight of communities displaced by this process. Together, these distinct works build an expansive and lateral view of the city, centered on questions of progress, sacrifice, idealism, and reality in our collective activities.