It is very difficult to label a person as a ‘true visionary’. Their skills and influence have to transcend a myriad of subjects and somehow arrive neatly packaged in a clear, focussed vision. The first time I experienced the film “A Clockwork Orange”, there was an instinctive understanding that I was privy to something deeper than the madness of a sociopathic delinquent - it was provocative art at its finest. The music, the pace, the geometry, it was all perfect and all profound. Only a handful of filmmakers are truly able to achieve this and of that list, Stanley Kubrick stands as one its pioneers.
The latest exhibition at Somerset House, “Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick”, pays homage to Kubrick’s legacy by inviting artists to respond to and reinterpret Kubrick’s universe. It is always admirable to see an exhibition that doesn’t shy away from the idea of artists being directly inspired by another or, as in this case, commissioned to do so. For the Kubrick fan, it is pure indulgence and for the newbie, the artists have managed to perfectly capture the essence of his world so much so that one cannot help but run home and watch everything Kubrick ever created.
Toby Dye has created a wonderful installation called “The Corridor” (which can be seen here: http://www.tobydye.com/films/the-corridor/) that could easily occupy several days. It is an immersive, infinite film that features different characters inspired by Kubrick’s work and includes the likes of Joanna Lumley and Aiden Gillen to the soundtrack of UNKLE’s Lonely Soul. Interestingly, this was the original piece of music that was sent to Kubrick for a music video that never made it into the world. The exhibition does a wonderful job of collecting stories and projects that vanished under Kubrick’s immense workload or that he never felt he could finish. One such poignant story is that of the unrealised project “Aryan Papers”, which in the exhibition takes the form of an interview with actress Johanna ter Steege and her fascinating insight into the way Kubrick meticulously prepared his work.
One personal highlight was Doug Foster’s mesmerising “Beyond the Infinite” (a short clip can be seen here: http://www.dougfoster.net/bti.html), which was sumptuously rendered with textures that draw the viewer in to the centre of a tunnel, reminiscent of the famous Stargate scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Coupled with a luminous soundtrack, it is one of the most striking installations.