If you’re from the UK, or are visiting, then you should definitely pass by the Lisson Gallery for Spencer Finch’s exhibition that is on show until the 26th July – So, not long now!
There is sensitivity within this exhibition, which co-exists with the poetic dialogue of scientific methodologies that bares a resemblance to an existential yearning, and explores the depths of our relationships with matter and materials in a metaphoric manner.
This sounds too art textbook, and just like any other brief review of Spencer’s work, but in simplistic terminology, Finch manages to seduce us with the bare and naked effortlessness of light in all of its complicatedness.
On inspection we are forced to view an installation of contradiction. How can a scientific methodology be this magnificent? Minimalist, yet deep neo formalistic in its form. Literary references spring to mind, from Yeats to obvious choices such as Theadou. He’s the type of artist that you’re mom would want you to do work like, IF you HAD to be a conceptual contemporary artist.
Walking into the space I am reminded of a Christmas in July scenario, but not in a tacky council house estate way. More of a sophisticated garden centre trying to seduce its consumers with these posh different coloured burble lights that spin and sparkle from the roof (making reference to UK culture, not so sure of the USA’s stance on garden centres). This piece of course is trying to illuminate and give the impression of Moonlight (Moonlight [trying to capture the sun 11:00pm]).
It’s romantic visual poetry that makes me instantly think of Sartre. This work enables the viewer to locate and experience the conceptual existentialism of the architecture of the space. The spaces are both mental and physical, both empty and full, the work and the curational deal, the movement around and through the gallery space.
Lending heavily from Sartre’s idea of societal boundary breakdown  the Existentialist ideas towards architecture are such that the landscape and buildings should reflect the desire to dissolve physical boundaries. This concept tries to eradicate the barriers with elements specific to site and spatial requirements. Alas, ones own essence has the potential to be able to be defined in the space.
Interestingly, the methods in which Finch uses would indicate this architectural link within his work. The use of a natural phenomenon, in which our very first ontological questions as Beings (that we still haven’t been able to answer) such as the sun and its light, instantly sparks up this existential link. Taking it from the outside and to bring it inside, is in itself an action that eradicates the landscape for the architecture, to combine both through scientific mythology; Science and art, being and existence. The capture of something pure but is also materialistically flawed. Dissolving a physical boundary accepting us to have this opportunity for “man to be free,” or rather feel free.
Glass from neon or filter façades within the artworks is maintained throughout all the individual pieces of the work. However, it is noticeable that the building has reflections of the work on its walls, through reflective filters, frames or TV projections (West [the sunset in monument valley from my motel]) that flank the buildings perimeter. These are in fact works beyond the perceived external façade. This means the reflections of the works are seen twice, the second doorway or wall is seen twice, the real wall is seen once. A numerable amount of works and walls can be seen when only five are real.
This provides both Merleau-Ponty essence of experience and the dissolution of boundary identified within Sartre’s work. Furthering the element associated with the contemplation of memory and reflective consciousness in its conceptual existentialist nature. Translating an experience which then truly transends.
There is no way to categories Finch’s work. They are subtly beautiful, but it’s that rare beauty that makes you completely lost for words, and you just scratch your head and tilt it sideways and announce, “ahh fuck” because that’s what productive at the time. The accuracy of specific details in his work continues to astound the uncommon. Finch magnificently manages to do whatever every old school landscape painter wants to encapsulate and does so very successfully, but he does so with such intellect. Furthermore he does it with such sensitivity to the aesthetics. He manages to retranslate the ideology of time. One moment is re-lived in an exhibiting space for opening hours, for weeks, who needs digital cameras and time machines when Spencer Finch is around?
Regardless of whether you appreciate what he’s trying to capture, you’re visually seduced with blocks of filters and neon. Finch has modestly managed to seize the moment, the light and has enlightened and reminded us with what art that takes your breath away feels like. Whether that’s through the materials and form and/or the re-living of a transcendental feeling, your first kiss under the moonlight or the sunset in Monument Valley. Finch has got me.
 Sartre challenged the cultural and social assumptions and expectations of his upbringing, which he considered bourgeois, in both lifestyle and thought forming hierarchical social boundaries
 Sartre – Existentialism is a humanism