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What Remains, is a solo exhibition by sculptor Tim Shaw RA, on at The Exchange (in association with Anima-Mundi) until 12th May, and all I can really say is that this is one to immerse yourself in. Yes I’d seen pictures and read about it beforehand, but nothing could fully prepare me for how nervous I would feel walking through the door into Soul Snatcher Possession. I was all on my own, so the first thing I did was to instinctively check that all the figures were actually dummies; they were astonishingly intimidating and it felt so real. Even the MDF floorboards (intentionally or not) bowed ever so slightly as I trod on them, making the figures rock if I got too close. In these times of great civil unrest, of war, terrorism, death and torture, when it’s hard to really know who’s the ‘bad guy’ anymore – the mood of this installation seems eerily current. There are so many small details to be found in this room but I don’t want to give away everything.
In Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous, the nervousness was replaced by a dreamlike confusion as my eyes tried to adjust to the dark. Did I nearly trip over a body under a sheet or was it just an overturned table? Through the blue smoky haze I could see cafe trays frozen in time (launched into the air by the force of an unknown explosion), while shadows moved around the room and muffled warning sirens went off. I could see the outlines of people running away in the midst of all the confusion occasionally stumbling or beckoning, some supporting others or turning back to help; it felt like I’d walked helplessly into another persons nightmare playing on a continual loop. This installation is in fact based on Tim Shaw’s own experience as a child of an IRA bomb going off below a department store cafe that he and his mother were in.
In between the two rooms, as if to give you a little break to breath, was an area displaying resource material for the show. I’d really like to go into more detail but I almost feel like I’d be robbing you of your own experience, and please don’t be deterred by the themes of this exhibition as I nearly was, as sometimes being out of your ‘comfort zone’ can be quite exhilarating!
Installation – ‘Soul Snatcher Possession’
Installation – ‘Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous’
Resource material – maquettes & drawings