Iconic brutalist building 180 Strand is an apt setting for video vanguard Jeremy Shaw’s latest 70s-inspired exhibition, which opens today in collaboration with König Galerie. ‘We love presenting exhibitions in unlikely locations, and we plan to do it across London,’ says Katharina Worf, König Galerie’s London director.
The German gallery, which represent an impressive catalogue of artists including like Katharina Grosse, Elmgreen & Dragset and Helen Marten, has this week opened the doors of its first permanent London location in a 3,750 sq ft, underground Marylebone carpark. Currently filled with a selection of works from the gallery’s archives, it’s ‘a space for Londoners to come and indulge in our artists, and really get to know us as a gallery’.
Installation view of König Galerie’s inauguating group show at its new Marylebone location. Photography: Dan Weill
Across town on the Strand, Shaw is flying the gallery’s flag off-site, where the nebulous, pseudo-documentary Liminals is on show, after its debut at this year’s Venice Biennale. The 20-minute film inhabits a cinéma vérité aesthetic, using experimental flourishes to reveal new truths about so-called ‘spiritual gatherings’ popular in the 1970s.
We bare witness to a group of eight dancers as they enact ecstatic rituals in an attempt to access a new realm of consciousness. Master of visual trickery, Shaw has kept our perceptions on their toes. Much of the footage is actually new, interspersed with found imagery, and washed in grainy grey-scale to trick us into thinking we're watching something historic.
It’s a technique that Shaw carries into ‘optical sculptures’ also on display from his Towards Universal Pattern Recognition series, which juxtaposes found, archival photos of people in various states of religious rapture, framed in custom-machined prismatic acrylic.
This a bold London lift-off for König, which is already a formidable force in Berlin. Shaw is the ideal calling card, representing the gallery’s progressive, multimedia focus. ‘He’s gained momentum of late across Europe,’ Worf explains. ‘He’s perfect for London.’
After the city has become well acquainted with the gallery’s style, history, and artists, Worf is planning a fearless programme that spans different London spaces, as well as new Marylebone hub. She tells of an exhibition in the works dedicated entirely to the gallery‘s female artists. Watch this (underground, cross-city, off-site) space.