This exhibition of Koesler’s recent work was really interesting. We were invited to lie on meditation mats and have a ‘body scan’ in the same room as a work constructed as a giant shed, in which more of Koesler’s psychedelic film work was being shown.
Experiencing the work in a variety of different ways echoed the nature of it being reflective of hallucinations, hypnosis and psychological journeys.
“Just strolling through the spaces might be enough for a visitor to get a sense of what is going on. I call this ‘inhaling the show’ – perceiving it through the body. There is also another, conceptual landscape to be discovered…”
– Joachim Koester
I felt genuinely moved by the film of dancers reinterpreting the dancing ‘cure’ practiced by victims of tarantula bites in order to try to remove the venom from the bodies. In reality I had no idea that this was what I was watching at the time, and it was only afterwards that I read about it. In the first instance I found it extremely entertaining, like watching people completely immersed in expressive dance, lost in movement and angular, jerking shaking. The showing of these films on a range of wall size screens which viewers became part of to move through the exhibition meant that we were all at different times caught up in the film. My shadow interrupted the film and I debated, albeit briefly, whether I could join in the dance. Escaping into this ‘other world’ it was perfectly reasonable to connect all of the works in the exhibition to the title: The Other Side of The Sky. In retrospect I should have danced – I was invited to by the environment but I should not have let my sense of social acceptability override my instinct to be fully involved in it. I’m sure my son is glad I didn’t!
In addition to viewing Koesler’s work, Rose Wylie’s paintings filled the Sunley Gallery. Now in her 80’s Wylie’s paintings (typically of many female painters of the same generation) are gaining new interest and exposure.
Though not work that I instinctively lean towards or find pleasing to look at, other than because of the ambitious scale of each piece, her work reminded me a great deal of the work of Philip Guston:
Perhaps it was just the mindset I was in on the day. Bold statement paintings, either way.