Smoke

5 October 2008- 14 December 2008

Implicasphere: an itinerary of meandering thought

Smoke has plumed and swirled about us since history began. Not so long ago it reached a suffocating density when smoke gushed from mighty industrial plants like Battersea Power Station in a London that was dubbed ‘The Big Smoke’. But in our age of smokeless fuels and smoking bans, smoke seems to be vanishing from our fireplaces and fingertips. While it is rapidly increasing in other parts of the world, in London soon there may be nothing left but its symbolic quality. Smoke is going up in smoke; it is becoming its own metaphor. This exhibition marks its presence as it starts to disappear.
 
The exhibition ‘Smoke’ comprises a curious collection of material, such as museological artefacts, contemporary artworks, archive films, ephemera and everyday objects. It presents a cacophony of objects, images, texts and sounds, and spills out of the gallery with a series of performances, talks, workshops and screenings by a range of specialists, commentators and performers.
 
The exhibition includes works by contemporary artists, a monumental tapestry by Pae White; Hayley Newman’s Volcano Lady, who sports a dress that issues larval puffs; Simon Patterson’s performance, Landskip, with coloured smoke in Battersea Park; Germaine Koh’s installation that converts Pump House Gallery’s computer activity into Morse code spurts of smoke; an experimental film by John Smith; and Henry Krokatsis’ delicate fumage drawings.
 
These are placed alongside NASA’s Aerogel or ‘solid smoke’, an ethnographic pipe collection, a 19th century Smoke Enema Resuscitator kit, chronophotographer Étienne-Jules Marey's photographs of smoke trails, a 17thcentury wood engraving of a smoking Sir Walter Raleigh being doused by a servant who thinks he's on fire, magicians’ smoke-trick paraphernalia, an authentically blackened brick from the Black Country, dried Smoketree bows, examples of smokeless fuel, extracts from films such as Kate Bush’s smoke-swathed performance of ‘Wuthering Heights’, a 1935 documentary on skywriting, and a library of books and pamphlets on all things smoky.
 
Smoke is curated by the editors of Implicasphere: an itinerary of meandering thought. This is Implicasphere’s first exhibition and will be accompanied by a new edition of the publication.
 
Kindly supported by Arts Council England, Henry Moore Foundation, Arts about Wandsworth and Haunch of Venision.  In-kind support from Farrow & Ball and MAC Cosmetics.

Simon Patterson | Courtesy the artist

| Courtesy Wandsworth Museum, London

Jorge Sasse | Cprint | Image courtesy the artist and Paul Köser

Etienne-Jules Marey | Courtesy Collection Cinémathèque Française, Paris