Not since the world fell in love with Yayoi Kusama has London fallen for such a triumph of delight.
Dominic Harris’ show Imagine at the Halcyon gallery (London) suggests that there might be a place for naïve beauty within the art world. Of course within the interactive butterflies, the subtly ecological message of a manual desert, the blooming still lives and the in-camera farce of lunar colonisation there are poignant touch points where the viewer can reflect on a variety of nostalgic subjects through dark digital lens.
These beautiful vignettes evoking decadent wealthy manor decoration remind us that since the renaissance ownership of art was an act of symbolic violence in an ongoing war of status and accumulation. The role that technology serves might well reflect this concern. The tech-rich often pride themselves on being apolitical, they are merely the purveyors of tools for a society to decide its own direction guided by the manifest rectitude of the far seeing or deep pocketed. It’s is not for them to limit the consequence rather it’s their humble pleasure to provide the opportunity.
Harris’ work is about time, space and consequence. We interact, destroy, annoy and play with the artworks causing birds, flowers, and landscapes to perform set acts back to us, codes which we are to decipher, learn and repeat. We recount and perform in as much an automatic way as the works themselves. We raise our arm or touch a beak to elicit an response and pleased that we’ve discovered a result move on. However from a certain vantage we might watch several hundred people enact the same position and elicit the same discovery time and again. There is an automatic nature to nature and understanding this interconnection makes us paradoxically more human by being less special. Our rituals and interconnected codes govern our lives and understanding those tropes allows us to appreciate the still lives that we inhabit from moment to moment to moment. The beauty and vibrant success of Harris’ show is that it presents us with a circular totality of existence. We are wowed. We feel enabled. We feel knowledgeable, ennobled and retaining a sense of cosmic perspective feel enlivened and awake. There is something greater than us and Harris allows us to experience that perfection without resorting to two dimensional spiritual constructs.