At what moment do future dreams become past relics? And if we could imagine such a moment what would it look like? Perhaps it can be glimpsed in a display such as this - a powerful tribute to the memory of JG Ballard’s prophetic imagination - and by the palpable feeling of dislocation it generates.
The pervasive mood of unease and latent violence increases as it becomes clear that what we build in the hope of a better, faster and brighter future may well end up damaging or even destroying us. This is the recurring message of ‘Crash’, a show whose strangely juxtaposed contents resemble not so much an exhibition as an excavation, a mute assembly of today’s bright machines for living (and the desires that shaped them) represented as tomorrows instruments of violent dysfunction.
Technology is either redundant (the abandoned Russian space station surveyed by the Wilson sisters, the marooned yacht found by Tacita Dean in a jungle clearing, and the fossilized remains of the American dream in the shape of Richard Prince’s automobile) or exposed as the menacing agent of destruction (the dismembered wheel of a giant plane, the collapsed highway at the heart of a modern conurbation). A visually arresting catalogue of images whose troubling features are only exacerbated by their proximity to paintings by those other modern chroniclers of unease: De Chirico, Hopper and Bacon.
Crash: Homage to JG Ballard, Gagosian gallery, Britannia Street London 11 February - 1 April 2010