Heather Phillipson: TRUE TO SIZE


Jesse Holliland reviews Heather Phillipson’s surreal exhibition TRUE TO SIZE, showing at Plymouth Arts Centre until 20 August 2016.

This series of surrealist installations is a sensory explosion of sound and colour.

Exaggerated real life emoji icons with media outlets for faces explore via an emotionless monologue how self absorbed and nihilist our culture has become; the installations of bright cut outs standing as a comment and mockery of modernity, reducing our obsession with visual distraction and light entertainment to absurdity.

How can you take yourself seriously when you’re facing a giant teddy plush in the shower atop of rainbows?

Simplified moving images of comic book vaginas and bananas are placed alongside sparkly rainbows to provide a constant distraction as the voices and colours overlap and clash, an exhausting overload of visual ‘sugar’ for us to process as we occupy the space. We’re told:

“The point is not to understand the videos and installations as complete narratives…it is precisely the space – the movement, the oscillation even – between temporal and static images and phrases where meanings start to coalesce.”

I cannot say how you will feel about this installation and to be honest, whether or not you ‘like’ it has little to do with understanding it or appreciating its message; judging by the comment board at the venue the views of this show are far from unanimous. One thing I can tell you is that this bold piece of work is likely to provoke a definite reaction from you and the arts centre are eager to hear what that is.

If you would like to judge for yourself then visit Plymouth Arts Centre before 20 August 2016 (please check opening hours before you visit).