It’s not Frieze London week without a bumper offering from 180 Studios, and this year Universal Everything and Richard Mosse have a pair of immersive and alternative art shows in the brutalist hub.
Sheffield-based Universal Everything brings 14 of its pioneering digital artworks to the subterranean spaces of 180 The Strand for its show, dubbed Lifeforms. Projects ‘live’ within a series of habitats designed by Ab Rogers, which are reminiscent of giant playground objects and geometric blocks, splashed with colour and giant screens.
Among the highlights is the world premiere of Maison Autonome (2022) – a fantasy fashion show complete with ‘catwalk’ seating where anthropomorphic figures parade a runway, ‘dressed’ in moving shapes and colours. The figures develop distinct personalities through the animation, paying homage to the Futurists’ attempts to depict the human body in motion while questioning the notion of fashion and the role of the designer.
Elsewhere, Universal Everything founder Matt Pyke revisits his botanical roots with Nature Always Wins (2022). The pandemic-inspired artwork sees buildings, streets and even planes reclaimed by foliage and nature, turning the urban landscape into a giant, shaggy green landscape.
More interactive elements come via Future You (2019) and ‘Into the Sun’ (2022), which also gets its first global outing. The reactive artwork sees plants spring up on a digital screen in response to viewers approaching: a different step triggers a different plant life, from bouncy fronds to spindly leaves. The artworks are made with generative software that learns and adapts: ‘It’s compelling and surprising because it’s always fresh. It’s off doing its own thing and evolves beyond what we create in the studio,’ says Pyke.
It also means no one visiting Lifeforms will see the same show twice: the technology will continue to generate and evolve in response to visitors throughout its display until 4 December 2022.
If Universal Everything offers a heady hit of unadulterated joy, Richard Mosse’s haunting show Broken Spectre provides a sobering view of the deforestation and destruction in the Brazilian Amazon.
Mosse’s psychedelic photographs capture flooded forests, illegal gold mines and swathes of land once brimming with life that has been reduced to a barren wasteland for cattle grazing. Many of the images, shot over three years, have never been exhibited before. Still, the crowning piece of the show is a 74-minute-long immersive film that captures the burning of the forest and its ambient but potent, crackling soundtrack. It’s a harrowing and relentless assemblage that will stay with viewers long after the show closes in December.
Tickets for Richard Mosse: Broken Spectre and Universal Everything: Lifeforms at 180 Studios are available to book online. (£20 for general admission, £15 concession for students and under 18s, while children and accessible tickets are free. Bookings must be made in advance.)