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Traces and Shiny Evidence Exhibition

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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A Deadly Sheen Across the Landscape
jimmie durham, traces and shiny evidence, parasol unit
Courtesy Jimmie Durham. Photo Kai Vollmer

Jimmie Durham describes his latest exhibition at Parasol Unit as 'beautiful death'; a depiction of the ruinous ubiquity of oil on our environment, Durham somehow manages to transform this ominous and macabre subject into something cheerfully colourful. Divided into two sections, Traces and Shiny Evidence, takes up the entire gallery space, and features an installation made up of several bright individual sculptures on the ground floor, which contrasts black and white drawings up above.

Running until the 9th August, you might feel as if you are travelling through an arid desert. Plastic skeletal remains are scattered across the floor, but they haven't died from the result of a harsh dehydrating environment. Surrounded by leaking barrels and covered in luminous oil. These animals have been killed by man. A distressing scene to be sure, yet one that is tinge with a certain element of sadistic entrancement as you are captivated by the vivid colours running through them.

Durham was inspired by the memory of seeing rainbow puddles on the roads, an effect created by a thin film of oil covering the surface, and reflecting in the light. Beautiful, but deadly. Using acrylic gel, he gives a visual concept of our addiction to this poison that we find so attractive.

Bringing you back to reality, the first floor takes away tinted glasses, and returns to a more morbid scene. The walls are covered in black and white paper drawings of animal contours. This is shown alongside a ninety minute video called Smashing, in which Durham can be seen smashing objects to pieces on a desk.
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 9th Aug
Phone: 44 (0) 207 490 7373
Where: Parasol Unit
Cost: Free
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