Simon Faithfull – Gravity Sucks




Gravity Sucks brings together for the first time the complete series of Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicles, seven quixotic artworks that utilise an assortment of balloons, insects and rockets to offer the viewer the idea of freeing themselves from the constraints of gravity.

Faithfull’s works can be seen as an ongoing investigation into the incomprehensible scale of the earth as an object. The Escape Vehicles employ video cameras, transmission systems and drawing devices as measuring tools to define size, time and distance, and the experiments often involve travel either by the artist himself or by cameras sent out as surrogate, dispassionate eyes.

The early Escape Vehicles are heroic failures – rocket chairs explode, flies fail to buzz and generally things stay on the ground. Alarmingly, as the series progresses the experiments begin to succeed, until Escape Vehicle no.6 follows the journey made by a domestic chair as it travels into the upper atmosphere.

Dangling from an unseen weather balloon, the chair rushes away from the fields and roads of southern England and ascends through clouds until finally, seen against the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space, it starts to disintegrate. Although precariously successful in itself, the piece is imbued with melancholic failure for the artist asks us to imagine what it would be like to occupy the empty seat and travel to an uninhabitable realm where the temperature falls to -60º Celsius and breathing is impossible.

Duration 17 July 2009 - 20 September 2009
Times see web
Cost free
Venue BFI Gallery
Address Belvedere Road London SE19, ,
Contact / / www.bfi.org.uk/gallery

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