Ryoji Ikeda at 180 The Strand

Published in Art - 2 mins to read

Yesterday I went to see the Ryoji Ikeda exhibition at 180 The Strand, following a recommendation. I didn’t really know what to expect other that it would be on the weird side, but I ended up loving it. The whole thing was very much an experience - when you enter you are asked to put plastic shoe covers on, and a guide takes you through the various rooms, shepherding you further into the labyrinthine basement of the Strand when your allotted time with a particular work is up. Ikeda’s work is audiovisual, and each piece combines elements of sound and sight, sometimes in very intense or uncomfortable ways.

The exhibits explore the limits of both human sensory perception and technological output, as Ikeda explores how the distinction between the two is blurred in an ever-more-digitised world. The striking and immersive minimalism of it all reminded me of being in a video game - particularly a first person puzzler, one where they didn’t have much of an art budget, so there’s a lot of blank rooms with vaguely foreboding shapes and music. With heavy use of strobe lighting and jarring, staccato high pitches, it was not something to simply sit and let wash over you, instead forcing you to be mildly uncomfortable in order to consider whatever point it is Ikeda might be making.

I feel like I’d be doing it a great disservice by analysing it any further, but it was a fun experience, and one I’m very glad I left my comfort zone in order to partake in. I’m booked in to another, presumably more conventional, exhibition at White Cube on Saturday, so perhaps I will start doing exhibition reviews? Can you think of anything worse?