Waterside Contemporary: Ariel Reichman 'Who Distinguishes Between Light and Dark?' (until 22nd March 2014)
In complete isolation is the artist's video installation, 'My Mother, You See, She Doesn't Know How to Use a Lighter'. Its organic sound effects dominate the entire gallery, accumulating a force that creates anticipation until the viewer arrives at the booth-like environment. As a whole, the exhibition is rather avant garde, and, other than the sound from the video piece, the blank white space broken up by several pieces is haunting. It truly does feel that Reichman has gone beyond 'rejecting' the gallery, but in fact has wholly abandoned it. Alas, back to the video. 'My Mother, You See...' plays on the thematic metaphor of light and dark, in a piece that shows the artist's mother attempting to use a lighter effectively. For me this is a powerful few minutes of footage, as it seems that Reichman is showing us how we can control and determine the power in our own lives. The constant struggle, and sounds of exasperation, of the artist's mother signifies how something that is a simple task for one of us can be a great difficulty to another; as a society we need eachother in order to be supported and enlightened.
The exhibition as a whole and as separate entities fascinates me, especially as I began to look deeper into the ideas of Reichman and what he could be inferring. However it is his selection of works titled 'Electric Fence' that really caused my confusion. Again referring to the press release, the artist expresses the conditions of "negation, invisibility [and] permanence". Here we find the binary or rhetoric effect of support, which seems to be a recurring motif in this collection of Reichman's work, where the permanence of black against white and vice versa shows how as people our identity is fabricated due to the impact of the different people and places in our lives. As the rhetorical question of the title suggests, it is not always possible to decide who makes an impact on our lives and to what extent they do this. For me, 'Electric Fence' is a piece that I would enjoy learning more about through other people's interpretations.