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The Jefferson Hack-curated exhibit displays works by Doug Aitken, Sophia Al-Maria & Victoria Sin, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Donna Huanca, Juliana Huxtable, Evan Ifekoya, Dozie Kanu, Quentin Lacombe, Lawrence Lek, Jenn Nkiru, Chen Wei and Harley Weir & George Rouy in an intensely nuanced, varied and fluid view of identity through the relationship between present and future, death and rebirth, and self and reality.

"I am waiting for my case to come up/and I am waiting/for a rebirth of wonder" starts American beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 'I Am Waiting'. This intense desire for the rediscovery of the self is what inspired not only the title of 180 The Strands' latest exhibit, but also its theme. Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder is an exploration of identity in modern society with pleasantly forward-looking overtones: concepts of positive change are touted throughout the exhibit, half-hopeful, half-suggestive, and the space offers a deeply complex and refreshing look into a topic that seems more relevant than ever.

There is something for everyone at 180 The Strands' latest exhibit: The Jefferson Hack-curated collection covers every imaginable artistic medium from audio-video to performance to sculptural. The mish-mash of mediums does, to an extent, act as an effective representation of the chaos of the expression of the modern self, but there is still something undeniably 'Frieze' about the exhibit: the audience is pulled and pushed rather than guided, our attention is thrown from the newly commissioned and debut light shows of Doug Aitken to the film portraiture of Jenn Nkiru (best known for her work on The Carters - Apeshit music video) to the enigmatic sculpture of Dozie Kanu within minutes of each other. It is a genuinely multi-faceted and prismatic portrayal of a bleary, chaotic - but cleared shared - view of identity.

Jeffersons' talk of ley lines and 'portals of energy' in his October interview with AnOther may seem slightly eccentric, but there is a genuinely powerful and honest feeling to the exhibit. Connections of self, history, geography, race and gender come together in an undeniably modern, ambitious yet still unpretentious exploration of a complex and vivid topic. Transformer doesn't pretend to have all the answers, nor does it claim to present a singular view of the self in modern society, but it does ask a lot of the right questions - and the wide range of artists, mediums and messages means that at least one of them will be right for you.

Transformer: A Rebirth of Wonder is exhibiting at 180 The Strand for free until the 8th of December 2019.

Image credits: Amelia Karlsen, Donna Huanca, Harley Weir and George Rouy


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