Anthony McCall: Peer / Peer at the Round Chapel

Article excerpt

The Round Chapel isn't really round--elliptical is more like it. Built in 1871, it is said to have been the most important Nonconformist church in East London. Although you can't see much of the place in the darkness that Anthony McCall's Between You and I, 2006, requires for its visibility, such a setting seems tailor-made for McCall's small-p protestant (frugal, anti-iconic, individualistic) art. The installation consists of two slowly metamorphosing light patterns projected from a rig suspended from the chapel's ceiling--one describing parts of an ellipse that narrows and widens, the other a wave moving through a rotating straight line. But then, as McCall writes, "over time each gradually takes on the former properties of the other, while discarding some of its own." In other words, the "you" and the "I" exchange identities, not unlike the characters in a postmodern metafiction a la Orhan Pamuk.

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Admittedly, I might not have quite understood the system behind the forms traced by the projected light had I not first seen the "drawings"--mostly digital printouts, rather--at Peer. And I'm not sure if that would have made for a lesser experience. Equally striking would have been that a single set of projections produced two different types of result simultaneously, a moving drawing in white on the dark floor and a moving sculpture made of curtains of light in space. Likewise, the same motion manifested itself differently on the floor and in the space--being more easily legible as well as seeming less ponderous in its drawing form, while harder to follow in terms of its pace when viewed sculpturally. …

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