Change is one of the few certainties in life. After death and taxes, the only thing we can be sure of is that nothing stays the same. As such, it begs the question: what happens when we’re no longer around?
Taking Mary Shelley’s apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826) as its inspiration, this show explores the mysterious absence of humankind from the spaces they once inhabited. The ecological concerns of Shelley’s novel bring to mind: if mankind disappeared, would the natural world be free to reclaim what belonged to it? Visitors thereby get to take the place of Verney, The Last Man, in becoming the sole observer of an eerie lost world.
Seven painters come together to create this atmospheric exhibition. The unnerving images of Christopher Gee and Miguel Laino create a haunting, ominous presence, as if even before the disappearance there were clues, portents and signs. The paintings of Eleanor Watson and Mackie depict abandoned landscapes and structures like solitary markers, with empty rooms seen through external walls creating a sense of dereliction. In Vasilis Avramidis's luscious works, green mossy hills emerge in the black of night from a subterraneous realm and morph into arms, fingers and heads. The Bosch-like theme is continued in Hyunjeong Lim’s drawings of twisted landscapes that depict a contemporary Golgotha through a cacophony of comic-book images. It is left to Tom Shedden’s paintings of an Elysian future to suggest a counterbalance of harmony with the new elements.
The Last Man is curated together with The Art Circus.