EXHIBITION REVIEW Zineb Sedira’s ‘Currents of Time’ at Rivington Place, London

I’ve just been to view Currents of Time: a new work by Zineb Sedira consisting of 3 instillations, distinct in style but thematically linked. The first of the 3 instillations I saw was ‘Maritime Nonsense and Other Aquatic Tales, 2009’. 3 large photographs on display in Rivington Place's shop front (see photo) used to draw people in. They do their job well, the rusting structures penetrating the dark oceans waters asking more questions than giving answers.

Once inside the gallery I was drawn to the disjointed noise’s coming from the darkened room immediately to my left. ‘Floating Coffins, 2009’ is a 14 screen video instillation with 10 round speakers suspended at various heights from the ceiling. The flat screen TV’s are mounted on 3 sides of the room surrounding the viewer, cables hanging freely, looping from TV to TV. Each screen showing different views of a rusting metal graveyard in the sea and sands of Mauritania, a country on Northwest African’s coastline. A place the world shipping industry uses as a scrap yard.

The rusting hulls are broken and fragmented physically by the frames of the TV’s, and the clever editing of the video footage. We see the ships, and the primitive methods being used to break them down as well as local wildlife and workers, forcing you to question the environmental and human impact this surreal ship cemetery has in this part of Africa.

To stay static whilst viewing the work is to do the ambient sound track a disservice. Zineb Sedira worked with sound artist Mikhail Karikis on producing this sound track and By walking underneath the many orb like speakers hanging above you, your oral senses are thrown off balance, the sounds of wind on sand, crashing waves and hammer on metal envelop you, at times clamouring for attention from all directions. All of this aids, and compliments the visually immersive elements of the work.

The third instillation is upstairs in the gallery’s project space 2. By contrast ‘Scattered Carcasses, 2008’ is set up in a lit room. Made up of 10 photographs mounted on large light boxes ‘scattered’ around the room. Power cables and extension plugs strew the ground, and hang from the wall mounted light boxes. I was the only person viewing the work at this time and the gentle sound of wind and lite tinny metal against metal caused unintentionally by a lose part in the air conditioning unit provided an atmospheric soundtrack. I couldn’t help but think it would have been a nice touch (although maybe not for the gallery supervisor) if the air con had been turned off and the heating turned up enough to dry your throat while viewing the backlit images of rusting ships being slowly buried by the African sands and sea.

I found this exhibition to be involving and challenging with the work enhanced by the well thought out and inspirational space within which it was displayed. Topping it off nicely is a complimentary exhibition guide providing you with some fairly in-depth background on the artist and her previous works. I highly recommend catching ‘Currents of Time’ in Londons East End before it ends on July 25th.

The exhibition will be running from 21st May - 25th July 09 at:

Rivington Place,



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