Published on hyperallergic.com, November 30th, 2018. To see the full article click here.
In his latest exhibition, Belfast-born sculptor Tim Shaw explores the troubles of Northern Ireland, global terrorism, abuses of power, and artificial intelligence.
SAN DIEGO — As a child growing up in Belfast in the 1970s, sculptor Tim Shaw survived an Irish Republican Army bombing on the top floor of a cafe. In his latest exhibition, Beyond Reason, on view at the San Diego Museum of Art, Shaw recreates the scene of this trauma. Two people at a time are allowed to enter “Mother, the air is blue, the air is dangerous,” a foggy blue-tinted space modeled after the bombed cafe. Meandering through overturned furniture and food trays suspended in midair, you spot hats, glasses, and lit cigarettes, presumably left behind by the shadowy evacuating figures projected on the walls. More experiential than theatrical, the room traps you in a moment of shocked alienation.
This deeply personal installation is featured alongside five other techno-gothic works that reflect on global terrorism, free speech, abuses of power, and artificial intelligence. In the vein of Goya’s satirical series of engravings “Los Caprichos” (1797-1798), Shaw’s pieces critique contemporary systems of oppression in a visual language of grotesques and homunculi.