Curtain Call by Ron Arad at the Roundhouse, London
London may have had quite some month but, at the height of the rioting mayhem, a remarkable and inspiring story was unfolding inside Chalk Farm’s Roundhouse. On 8 August, the historic former railway building unveiled Curtain Call, an astonishing installation by Ron Arad, incorporating a month-long programme of events that culminate this weekend. We suggest you see them while you still can.
Arad, whose design studio is conveniently situated almost opposite the building, has masterminded a giant (18m across) circular curtain inside the space made from 5,600 identical 8m-tall silicone rods. Suspended from the (considerable) roof of the space, the free-hanging rods provide a backdrop on to which a series of especially commissioned artworks is currently being projected. The programme includes musicians, artists, designers, and students from the Royal College of Art (where Arad was professor of design products) and visitors can walk through the swinging curtain and interact directly with the 360 degree video images.
And what powerful images they are. Christian Marclay’s Pianorama is an audiovisual composition, featuring pianist Steve Beresford, filmed and remixed by Marclay, with Beresford’s multiplied hands projected onto the curtain. Greenaway & Greenaway, brothers based in London and Berlin, have devised a film which fractures images of the Roundhouse itself and re-projects them onto the curtain causing an eery sense of displacement in the space. Then there is Hussein Chalayan, who is showing his film Kaikoku, Mat Collishaw and David Shrigley, all who have created bespoke works.
Curtain Call has been, by all accounts, an epic installation to physically achieve, and the spirit in which it was created was a generous one that sat in stark contrast to the surrounding unrest in the city in early August. Sponsored by Bloomberg, the public is invited to pay whatever they can for admission.