Cable guy

British artist Mat Chivers integrates marble sculptures, soundscapes and Japanese bondage into a cohesive and impactful exhibition

'Harmonic Distortion' at London gallery PM/AM touches upon themes Chivers has been preoccupied with throughout his career. Namely, the relationship between analogue and digital medias, and the merging of ancient and futuristic fabrication methods. But this exhibition introduces a new, performative accent to Chivers' creative repetoire. 'Harmonic Distortion' centres around a dance duet inspired by the Japanese art of shibari, a ritualised, theatrical form of erotic bondage in which a power exchange is enacted between the person being bound and the one doing the binding. Employing his signature contemporary twist, Chivers has replaced traditional ropes with fibre optic cabling (the kind used to transmit information by global digital networks) in a metaphor that comments on our increasing entanglement with digital data, which at once strangles us and offers us creative freedoms.

The static elements of the exhibition are also concerned with data communication. The monochrome sculptures, for example, which are scattered around the gallery like cast die, draw upon a data set donated by research scientists, on the physics of wave and cloud formations. These variations have been sketched out into graphs, and then robotically milled into the contrasting black and white marbles, creating a powerful, phsyical representation of an otherwise 'unemotional' string of numbers and figures. Through each disperate element of the exhibition (which also includes wall-based works and a sound installation from renowned producer Moiré) Chivers uses art to decode our relationship with the world; making profound statements about the fragility of the environment, and humanity in general. Until 28 February.

Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.