Heaven by Oema and Van Loopen is not a new exhibition, having been open since May 2019 – but it is one that will be closing at the end of August 2019, and I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. It is a multi-media installation involving hand-drawn images, mobile sculptures, music and an ethereal setting, which Oema describes as follows:
Heaven was born from the idea of bringing together some of my drawings depicting female faces. At first, Van Loopen and I had no idea how to create an original structure that could accommodate drawings … In addition to the church and the drawings, we thought of creating special media effects to be placed so that the visitor, enabling multimedia, could be fascinated by the lights, movements, shapes, colours, and sounds in sync.
Placed against the nave walls towards one end of the ruined cathedral, Oema’s drawings are presented in monochrome, each one very much a focus on an emotion and / or a response. They sit framed within evocative titles, the words of which – assuming they are read by visitors via a right-click edit – add to their depth and potential interpretation by the observer.
The images face in towards the central isle of the nave, where sculptures by Noke Yuitza are animated to turn slowly amidst a gentle blizzard of light and shapes that dance as if given life by the music to which the installation is set – music and lyrics specifically chosen to form an active part of the installation, and which should be enabled and listened to.
It’s an immersive, engaging installation. The visitor, after following the instructions close to the landing point, is undeniably drawn into the piece, particularly if the titles of the drawings are viewed. But at the same time, so little is actually revealed about the subjects themselves; on whom are the images based? Avatars? People from the physical world? Friends? Family? Entirely from the imagination? No clue is given, heightening our involvement with the images and the installation as whole.
- Heaven (LEA 1, rated: Moderate)