Critics’ Picks

Philippe Parreno, El sueno de una cosa (The dream of a thing), 2001, still from a 35-mm film, 1 minute.

Philippe Parreno, El sueno de una cosa (The dream of a thing), 2001, still from a 35-mm film, 1 minute.

London

“Slash Fiction”

Gasworks
155 Vauxhall Street
April 5–May 25, 2007

The coat of arms of the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland marks the entrance with a double crown, symbolically overthrowing the sovereignty of the space. Each visitor must have her KREV-issued visa application approved before entering, indicating an appropriate “purpose of visit.” Inside, curators Nav Haq and Mia Jankowicz have brought together video, installation, and performance works that seek escape from the mechanics of the status quo. Wang Wei, one of six international artists included here, has provided a scaffolding construction that simultaneously restricts movement and emphasizes the liberatory potential of alternative models of space. Likewise, Hu Xiangqian’s video, Flying Blue Flag, 2006, shares a sense of expectancy, following the young artist and his small band of banner-waving supporters as they march through their village, into the fields, and down residential alleys, in an attempt to rally support for the enthusiastic candidate. Although he is not on the ballot and cannot be elected, Hu engages a range of political tactics, practicing bold hand gestures and circulating images of idyllic urban and agricultural landscapes that he promises to deliver. An off-site extension of the show, Philippe Parreno’s El sueno de una cosa (The dream of a thing), 2001, plays between previews and advertisements at two central-London movie theaters, Curzon Soho and the Renior Cinema. Quiet and unbranded, the lingering image of the Norwegian landscape is most compelling in its unmediated offer of possibility—and the responsibility it implies.