‘Maybe your lens is scratched?’ hinges on a relationship between space and image disrupted by economic and political changes (rising inequality, international capital, privatization of space, shell corporations). Architectural space, as it is experienced and circulated, is flattened into images. In turn, images are projected onto and into buildings. The city grows a new skin, a screen onto which we project our desires of the future in the language of an imagined past. Polarised glass, glossy brochures, Instagram feeds, trompe l’oeil architecture, façadism, tax codes and ideology made stone. Each twist of the screw restages our experience of space as an act of looking. The ease with which we can ‘picture’ ourselves in a space motivates our evaluation and valuation of the same space.
A concrete wall, three columns and a recessed corner, fresh from rain and stained by the traffic: could this be a potential space? Not quite, but maybe my lens is scratched? Felix Jung and Marc Einsiedel are in London to extend their project Potenzieller Raum, previously executed in Hamburg and Brussels, for this new group exhibition at the Averard Hotel. Cataloguing and re-representing the ‘lost’ corners of the city as potential spaces for subcultural, collective and alternative forms of living, the artist duo ‘We are visual’ operates on the edge of the invisible and the visible, the real and the ideal. Their rhetorical question goes to the heart of this exhibition’s attempt to intercede in the fluid exchange of sight and space.
The Averard Hotel, a grand nineteenth century mansion, disused while awaiting renovation into luxury apartments, is a palimpsest of London’s history, an “echo- chamber of the whole politic” (Richard Wentworth). It embodies the ceaseless folding and unfolding of image into space, and vice versa, a crease in the smooth surface of the city, an essay on the history of taste. The Averard Hotel hosts fifteen artists whose work questions our familiarity with experiencing space through image alone.