That we are living in strange times is a sentiment so often repeated that it has quickly become a cliche. But in keeping with the feeling that we have stepped through the looking glass and into what seems like a parallel reality, a townhouse in south London has been transformed into a topsy-turvy world of illusion and spectacle. The works on display here reflect a pervading sense of disorientation that many of us have felt during lockdown.
Curated by Nicole Schoeni, disCONNECT brings together the artworks of 10 artists in the future home of Schoeni Project’s London space before its planned renovation. The artists involved come from across the globe, meaning that Schoeni has had to be creative with the installation process over lockdown.
Herakut, installation view, disCONNECT, Schoeni Projects London, 2020. Photo: Nick Smith Photos.
Highlights of this immersive exhibition include the Berlin-based duo Herakut, who have transformed an entire room into a surreal space that includes a giant cardboard boy pitting his wits against a monkey in a game of chess. The work suggests that isolation can stimulate the imagination and puts forward the idea that childhood boredom can lead to creativity.
Zoer, installation view, disCONNECT, Schoeni Projects London, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Schoeni Projects.
The French-based Italian-born artist Zoer typically paints his vibrant works directly on to walls (among other things), but Covid-19 related travel restrictions prevented him from adding to the London exhibition in person. To circumvent this, Zoer sent a digital file that was then printed and pasted on to the interior of one of the rooms. The result is an illusionary installation in which stacked furniture appears to recede into the walls.
David Bray, installation view, disCONNECT, Schoeni Projects London, 2020. Photo: Nick Smith Photos.
Many of the artists included in disCONNECT have developed their practice in the context of street art, lending the exhibition a vibrant, topical and rebellious feel. It is a testament to the resilience of creativity, made possible by the wonders of technology.
The participating artists from disCONNECT are: Adam Neate (UK); Aida Wilde (Iran); Alex Fakso (Italy); Mr.Cenz (UK); David Bray (UK) Herakut (Germany); Icy and Sot (Iran); Isaac Cordal (Spain); Vhils (Portugal); Zoer (Italy).
disCONNECT – A Locked-Down Artist Takeover
Schoeni Projects, London
24 July – 24 August 2020
Visits are limited to eight people an hour and tickets must be booked in advance. After the physical exhibition closes, the works will be made accessible online, via video, virtual tours and Instagram Live interviews.
Words by EMILY SPICER
Filmed and edited by MARTIN KENNEDY