Review: Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick @ Somerset House, London


Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick is not your average art gallery experience, and it is worth experiencing. The West Wing Galleries at Somerset House are transformed into a maze of ominous installations to give a truly brilliant and disturbing experience. Like a David Lynch objet d’art, this exhibition is a surreal affair with Kubrick’s filmography. 

Curated by James Lavelle, the exhibition searches and presents the impact Kubrick’s work has had on artists today, from Mat Collishaw’s AΩ, which features a primate’s face enclosed in a space helmet, to Nancy Fouts’ breathing replica of Kubrick’s camera. The display is a multi-sensory plunge into the creative provinces of Kubrick’s films – A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and more.

Perhaps the greatest installation is Toby Dye’s The Corridor – four endlessly looping films set in the same location encompass the viewer. Each film features a different character inspired by Kubrick’s films; Dye’s innovative narrative and technique gives the impression of the walls closing in as the camera moves back. Drubbing music scored by curator James Lavelle and Keaton Henson plays, perfecting the 360° experience.

Requiem for 114 Radios by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard is a lament comprising of individual voices playing on 114 analogue radio sets – it feels like being stuck in the haunted house at a theme park. Dies Irae from the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass (used by Kubrick in The Shining and A Clockwork Orange) swells against the discordant waves of sound – one of the more unsettling pieces of the exhibition!

The Shining Carpet is a connecting installation that features the flooring from Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining. Under dimly lit orange lights the exhibition leads to Doug Aitken’s Twilight – a sculpture inspired by Dr. Strangelove, with an iridescently lit phone booth in the middle of a room completely encased by mirrors. The artist suggests the possibility of infinity as each mirror reflects the other producing a nearly limitless line of reflections.

Another outstanding artwork is Paradise by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones. It is a stylish visual-auditory purée that explores the concept of time and space and boundaries. Inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, a specially produced soundtrack by James Lavelle and Keaton Henson plays through the headphones in a therapeutic union of sound and vision. You could listen to it for hours!

Chris Levine’s Mr Kubrick is Looking is a self-portrait of the director projected into the spectator’s vision using LED light technology. The image of Kubrick appears and then disappears in a moment like a subliminal message. The latter part of the exhibition includes a lot of flashing lights, dissonant sounds and sinister projections rousing all of the viewer’s senses in a hypnotic abstraction.

The penultimate artwork is a politically driven juxtaposition of images. Business cards are pegged in front of images from Dr Strangelove’s War Room; artist Peter Kennard critically suggests that the radical events of the past still plague the present.

The exhibition finishes with a staircase installation by Joseph Kosuth, where a transcript from The Shining spirals up the walls. Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick is perhaps the most intelligent homage to one of the greatest directors – art inspired by art – the display is a neurological trip into how we are affected by film and sound. Don’t expect to stare at walls and ask yourself ‘what does this make me feel? It defies expectations, because you will know what you feel when you see the art.

We were just so impressed! We gave it a super juicy rating of  5 / 5 mangos. A must see!

Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick is showing at Somerset House until August 24, 2016.

For more details about the gallery see below:

Somerset House

Telephone: 020 7845 4600

Gallery Opening Times: All week, 10am – 6pm


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: