Langlands & Bell: Degrees of Truth, Sir John Soane's Museum - FREE - ★★★★ - Until May 31, 2020

Interlocking Chairs by Langlands & Bell, 1995. Photographer: Gareth Winters.

John Soane's house is the environment of an architect whose own work was to create interesting space that was inhabited by others. This exhibition of pieces by artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell sets up a dialogue with Soane's space and collection of artefacts that is thoroughly fascinating. Two of the over thirty works in the exhibition were created especially for it: Grand Tour and Globe Table. They both look at the interconnected world that we inhabit and monuments of today while contrasting them to Soane's world view and his valued architectural influences. Like all Langlands & Bell's work they focus on relationships, personal and spatial, thus echoing Soane's own preoccupations. For us, one of the most striking pieces was not created for the exhibition but was a fitting introduction to it. The House of Osama bin Laden (2003), an interactive computer animation/data projection, with its stark, simplified perspective provides a brilliant contrast to the delightful clutter and eclecticism that typifies Soane's approach to his life and environment. For us this museum has always been about someone who takes pleasure in the questions posed by life and culture rather than seeking the complacency of easy answers. The house bespeaks a man of curiosity and indefatigable interest in his world. The Langlands & Bell exhibition sets up a conversation with the permanent collection which provokes many questions. Indeed, it offers the kind of stimulation that we're sure Soane's would have enjoyed. Don't miss it!

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until May 31, 2020
Wed - Sun: 10 am - 5 pm
Sir John Soane's Museum
Nearest tube: Holborn

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