What lies beneath: filmmaker Martina Amati takes us ‘Under’

Italian filmmaker and artist Martina Amati takes us 'Under' in an immersive installation at London gallery Ambika P3

Martina Amati takes us 'Under' in an immersive installation at London gallery Ambika P3
BAFTA award-winning filmmaker and artist Martina Amati (pictured) has unveiled her latest project at London’s Ambika P3 gallery, an immersive, multi-screen installation on the art of freediving.
(Image credit: Daan Verhoeven)

Looming large in Ambika P3 (opens in new tab)’s mammoth 14,000 sq ft subterranean space, Italian filmmaker Martina Amati’s multi-screen installation is a remarkable sight to behold at the London gallery. Entitled Under, it immediately engulfs, plunging visitors into the mysterious sport (or art, as Amati would argue) of freediving.

The artist’s latest project, supported by the Wellcome Trust (opens in new tab), sees her return to a subject that won her a Bafta for I Do Air in 2010: water. Under traces Amati and fellow freedivers (opens in new tab) (including record breaker Liv Philip (opens in new tab)) moving through silken blue waters off the coast of Egypt, performing acrobatics across ‘tightropes’, and descending through the depths of the Red Sea – all on a single breath of air.

In the gallery’s cavernous main hall, a horizontally suspended screen with projections on either side seemingly floats in the middle of the space, and can be viewed from a platform above or directly below. It’s an all-consuming visual centrepiece, with the screen so large that the film fills the viewer’s peripheral vision, making for a truly immersive experience.

Multiple zen-like projections are peppered throughout the rest of the space, while Icelandic composer and vocalist Gunnlaug Thorvaldsdottir has scored a suitably haunting soundtrack to accompany the installation. A final screen takes a more academic turn, airing a documentary in which Amati explores the physical effects of freediving, filmed in collaboration with Dr Kevin Fong, co-director of the Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine.

It’s a curiously enigmatic sport, with a small, tight-knit community and perhaps an unfair reputation for danger. Freediving was most recently thrown into the international spotlight following the presumed death of world champion Natalia Molchanova, who disappeared during a dive last month (opens in new tab).

Nevertheless, Under brings the holistic side of freediving to the surface and it’s easy to see why Amati is so drawn to it. There’s a hypnotic stillness that’s impossible not to lose yourself in.

The gallery’s cavernous main hall

In the gallery’s cavernous main hall, a horizontally suspended screen with projections on either side seemingly floats in the middle of the space, and can be viewed from a platform above or directly below.

(Image credit: David Freeman)

Italian filmmaker Martina Amati’s multi-screen installation is a remarkable sight to behold at the London gallery

It’s an all-consuming visual centrepiece, with the screen so large that the film fills the viewer’s peripheral vision, making for a truly immersive experience.

(Image credit: David Freeman)

Icelandic composer and vocalist Gunnlaug Thorvaldsdottir has scored a suitably haunting soundtrack to accompany the installation. Watch freediving champion Liv Philip in our exclusive clip of Under here...

Under traces Amati and fellow freedivers moving through silken blue waters off the coast of Egypt

Icelandic composer and vocalist Gunnlaug Thorvaldsdottir has scored a suitably haunting soundtrack to accompany the installation. Watch freediving champion Liv Philip in our exclusive clip of Under here...

(Image credit: TBC)

Performing acrobatics across ‘tightropes’, and descending through the depths of the Red Sea all on a single breath of air

A still from Under, which traces Amati and fellow freedivers moving through silken blue waters off the coast of Egypt, performing acrobatics across ‘tightropes’, and descending through the depths of the Red Sea – all on a single breath of air.

(Image credit: Daan Verhoeven)

Multiple zen-like projections are peppered throughout the rest of the space.

Multiple zen-like projections are peppered throughout the rest of the space.

(Image credit: David Freeman)

Under was filmed in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, with a freediving camera crew

Under was filmed in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, with a freediving camera crew. Pictured is Amati with photographer Daan Verhoeven.

(Image credit: Alicia Cattaneo)

INFORMATION

‘Under’ runs until 11 October 2015

ADDRESS

Ambika P3
35-100 Marylebone Road
London NW1 5

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