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Mike Marshall

The Intimacy of Distance

23 November 2005 — 22 January 2006

Ikon presented a major exhibition of photographs and video by British artist Mike Marshall. His work quietly explores a sustained and intense level of engagement with the immediate world around us, alighting on activities and situations that often make up the background noise of life.

Not Far From Here is a video piece set in clearing of tropical woodland with sunlight flickering through the foliage. Shot from a chair that is suspended from a tree, the scene rocks gently back and forth inviting a reverie balanced on the edge of consciousness. There is a re-orchestration of the ambient sound, a bass line occasionally punctuates the calm to lend momentum, along with close whispers “ch…  si… ha…”, like words incomplete and at the moment of inception.

In Exploring a Small Canyon, a figure shouts simple words and waits for their ensuing echoes as they reverberate through different scenes of rock and sand. As the video progresses, these echoes multiply to form a sparse and contradictory dialogue that seems to acoustically emanate both from the canyon and the gallery space itself.

Similarly, his seven large-scale photographs present that which is often passed over. Front gardens, a footpath, a sloping bank of grass, each uses an unexpected layering of depth and focus that places the viewer on an uncertain threshold between looking at a place that is somehow particular and ‘special’ yet commonplace.

As part of the exhibition the artist made Cloudburst, a multi-speaker sound installation located off site. It involved the recording and layering of individual droplets of water falling on different surfaces, in all around 200,000 drops falling in a period of four minutes. These small noises slowly accumulate until they reach a crescendo of heavy rain. This took place at 181 Fazeley Street from 23 Nov – 22 January 2006.

This exhibition was organised in collaboration with Pianissimo Gallery, Milan.