Fractured Landscapes is the third solo exhibition by London-based artist Nathaniel Rackowe (b. 1975, UK) to be shown at the gallery. Rackowe’s practice spans public art, installation, sculpture, contemporary dance and painting; investigating form and materiality through his observations of light and the effect its changeability has on our experiences of urban spaces. Whereas in his previous work Rackowe would often use light-emitting sources (embedding neon tubes into his sculptures), here he considers the notion of light (artificial and natural) as upon reflective surfaces, guiding our sensation of space, material and colour.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by a passage in Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Klara, the Artificial Friend protagonist of the novel, understands her environment in moments of intense focus by fracturing the visual information she receives, allowing her to see things from different angles simultaneously. Rackowe read the book during a period of re-evaluating his own spatial surroundings, exploring London in a different way during lockdown, and reassessing his life after surviving cancer. The intersection of the rural and built environments in London became increasingly significant and he found his work shifting to focus on natural light, reflection, horizon, and fractured undulating surfaces that seemed to layer the natural and built.
Fractured City, an installation occupying the central floor of the gallery, develops Rackowe’s work Expanded Landscapes (2022) which was commissioned for this year’s Canary Wharf Summer Lights Festival. The form and reflectivity of the installation echoes the built environment of high-rise city centres where surface, colour, transparency and form come together to act as an expansive counterpoint to the adjacent architecture. In his new wall sculptures, aluminum honeycomb GRP sheets are layered with dichroic film that bends the colour of light as one moves around them. The arrangements vary in size and form, but together they create playful and energising effects – bright vivid surfaces that are in constant motion.