Bllomberg Space, 50 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1HD


Bloomberg Space

10 July - 19 September 2015

Review by Phoebe V. Bradford

A sharp and hypnotic film commission at Bloomberg Space announces the latest work of British artist David Blandy. ‘HERCULES: ROUGH CUT’ combines fragmented imagery and poetic language to create an aesthetic medley of cultural perceptions that represent the city of London today. As part of a larger programme of four projects organised by Bloomberg Space, Blandy’s film is the third to be exhibited in the gallery’s 2015 series ‘The Homecoming’.

The title of Blandy’s exhibition comes from the ancient Greek mythology of Heracles, alternatively named Hercules in Roman mythology. The way in which each mythos differed in both title and story drew Blandy’s interest, inspiring him to create an intensified and manipulated visual history of London’s cultural and architectural narrative. The exhibition emerges within a reversed white cube. The black walls and floor smother the space to create a perfect film gallery where several screens populate the dark abyss of Bloomberg’s exhibition space.

The film ‘HERCULES: ROUGH CUT’ feeds viewers rapid fire rotating imagery sourced from Bloomberg’s hefty archive of global financial news footage. Depictions of London’s evening cityscape glitter across the monitors, interchanging and revolving around images of ancient Greek temples, modern day factories and cosmetic shop shelves. Synchronous with Blandy’s archival finds, is the film’s booming voiceover. In a narrative generated from an array of poetic sources including William Blake, Thomas Moore and the Beat Poets of the 1950s, Blandy brings street slang to the fore using wise words from these literary greats. The narration maintains a pulsating rhythm, accompanied by the beat of quiet music that has a mesmerising effect on those watching.

Written words accompany the exhibition’s projected imagery. Terms such as ‘Mythos’, ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Civilisation’ rule the screen alongside the fragmented dreamlike photographs. The film rotates within many layers on screen. Blandy takes this to another plane by physically rotating the monitors in the space at a steady speed. By doing so, the exhibition deepens its immersive qualities and fully asserts its piercing ability to frame London’s cultural history from a technological perspective.

‘HERCULES: ROUGH CUT’ is a linguistic bombardment of distorted pictorial puzzles. The engaging and culturally inquisitive film brings a freshness to digital and new media work. The booming, slam poetry-esque tale of London’s historical development gives new dimension its technology, culture and mythology, allowing loyal London-dwellers to assimilate their home through a mish-mash of lucid dream and uncanny reality.

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