Prem Sahib in ICA

IMG_8597This is the first institutional solo exhibition by Prem Sahib in London. He explores themes relating to intimacy, sexuality, relationships, desire and community, in relation to public and personal space.

 IMG_8495To be honest, when I first entered the space, I was quite disappointed and don’t feel like I was getting involved into it. I personally don’t really understand the layout planning, they seems not that relevant to each other, it was like a group of artworks gathered in a room.  Nevertheless, I tried to observe the elements from this exhibition conscientiously and to understand the thoughts and ideas performed.  From my opinion, his design is quite unique, he designs in his own style rather than cater to the normal sense of the crowd. However, this turns out to be hard to identify his theme.

Firstly, lets demonstrate the works from the lower gallery. Puffer jackets, hoodies, glass and steel are used to make a combination in a frame form.  The puffer jacket and hoodie tend to overlap with each other, presenting in a way of people interacting. Imagining they are either having communication, argument or just a friendly or intimately hug.  Eggs are placed randomly on to the frames. The impression of an egg is weak, easy to break and sensitive that needs protection. Therefore, I presumably thinking about the artist is trying to imply the message that vary changes happens between relationships, the sense of equivocal.
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Here are the ceramic tiles with different items work with it. For me, the final outcome is sofa-like. There are popcorns in white colour all over the sculpture, a thin steel objects which tended to be a laptop, a sink and a cleanser enclosed in a blue latex box. It looks like the popcorns bursting out from the sink. The lifestyle of a person is created in here. The laptop and the popcorns with the sofa, the tiles and the sink providing the image of a bathroom whereas the popcorns can refer to the dirt got stuck in the sink. Cleanser is enclosed which may saying that person is lazy to clean up. The blue string light hanging up on the wall is quite interesting. The strings get the flow of lighting; they go from bright to dim cyclically. It feels like the emotion from humans.

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When you walk to the upper gallery, it goes dark at the beginning with a spotlight on the wall. This is creating the sense of club or pub and notifying the nightlife. Then, we went to a room with three black canvases, which were painted like the raindrops on the windows, a pillow on the floor and a table with the reflection of  walking feet showing a lively space. In another room, a ceramic tile sculpture is presented with the floor tile. There are footmarks on the surface from the people’s stepping just like dancing on a disco floor; this shows the action is involved.
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Initially, I couldn’t analysis what is the exhibition trying to express. They just look like a group of children getting lost in a space, there are no relation and distance each other apart. However, when you attentively look into it, you could realise that Sahib worked in so much details in every single work to create the linking theme and what his expression is. It has story, a pattern of life, emotion and action of people; it has a routine of day to night. After the analysis, I’m so appreciated of how he brings personal space into public. Overall I think he demonstrated his message successfully.

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