Are you sitting comfortably?

Ilja Karilampi, installation view at Wilkinson Gallery

I’ve been preoccupied with seating recently and in particular with the way film and video is shown in gallery spaces. It turns out that my attention span is much reduced if I’m not sitting comfortably. (Well, durr.) A particular low is the woefully inadequate seating at the ICA for the Lis Rhodes: Dissonance and Disturbance exhibition. When I came to write about that exhibition for MostlyFilm, all I could think about was how uncomfortable I’d been. So visiting galleries in east London yesterday it was pleasing to come across a couple of more interesting approaches.

The video in Ilja Karilampi’s installation in the upstairs gallery at Wilkinson is projected across the corner of the space. This makes for some frenetic and confusing visual effects which feel just right for the urban subject matter. In this respect, though not particularly comfortable, the wooden pallets used as seating work very well, not least because a few people can sit on them at the same time without jostling for position.

At Nettie Horn though, things get really interesting. The centrepiece of Iván Argote and Pauline Bastard’s Rising Action exhibition is an installation called Home Cinema. Tiered seating allows the audience to watch the video works from the comfort of three sofas.

Iván Argote and Pauline Bastard, Home Cinema, 2012

It undoubtedly helps that the videos are short and often funny, with a homemade feel that matches the ramshackle feel of the sofa grandstand, but the installation here plays a significant role in keeping me watching. The exhibition as a whole is an engaging one, mixing sculpture, collage and moving image works. A sense of the absurd runs through the exhibition.

And, at last, it’s actually possible to sit comfortably.

Ilja Karilampi is at Wilkinson, 50-58 Vyner Street, London E2 9DQ until 26 February 2012.

Iván Argote and Pauline Bastard: Rising Action is at Nettie Horn, 25b Vyner Street, London E2 9DG until 19 January 2012.

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