Tuesday 22 December 2009

behind closed doors

London: The Saatchi Gallery

I'm at the top of the stairs, looking down into the basement gallery at the exhibit "Old Persons Home" by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. A dozen or so very lifelike old folks are patrolling the floor in motorized wheelchairs. "Lifelike" isn't really the word because every one of these figures is either slumped forward in sleep or keeled over in death. The chairs are fitted with remote sensors to prevent collisions. They edge across the room in an endless dance of seemingly random charges and parries.

I'm the only visitor in the room, and I don't think the young gallery attendant has noticed me. She looks bored and is repeatedly stepping in front of one of the old guys, frustrating his attempts to move forward out of a corner. The hyperreality of the figures and the pathetic futile motions of this old fellow to get out of his trap begin to work on my emotions and I suddenly feel I'm witnessing a cruel case of casual bullying.

What previously was a gratuitous one-joke artwork suddenly means something more disturbing to me. I want to know that nothing like this is happening to my Mum.


Unknown said...

You paint a very distrubin picture there Greg my lad.

I'm also thinking of my own mother's frailty at the moment and that she is so helpless against the word, despite her grim, and frankly wearing, determination.


Greg said...

Welcome, Mick

Christmas does focus those sort of thoughts, doesn't it? And I'm sure the frozen pavements don't help any. I hope you don't find your Mum quite so wearing this year. Appreciate the resource you've still got in having someone who has known you all your life and who still knows who you are. Some of that annoyance you feel is just fear on your part. It's easy to mistake for irritation - believe me, I've been there!

G :D