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20/01/2023 - 25/02/2023

Late C20th - Installation


Vivian Lynn - Spin

Tue-Sat: 11-6pm

"The nuclei of my braincells are constantly spinning." Vivian Lynn, 1997

Spin is an exhibition consisting of two major installations by Vivian Lynn (b. Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, 1931, d. Wellington, 2018). Never before seen in the UK, these two works radically reconfigure the tradition of self-portraiture, exemplifying Lynn's determinedly wayward and unreservedly personal approach to art-making.

In Spin: Versor, Versari (1995–97) large-scale MRI scans of the artist's brain encircle the viewer, who, by turning, can journey from its left side to its right. Inspired by Lynn's visit to Pompeii's Villa of Mysteries in 1992, each image is captioned with the Latin names for rooms of a Roman house, from vestibulum (entryway) to peristileum (garden): a nod to historical mnemonic devices in which specific memories are mentally imprinted onto rooms of the house. Small globe lamps light the scans from below, casting them in a warm glow more evocative of the Dionysian rituals associated with the ancient villa than the cool, white light of the hospital ward. "Rather than submitting to the MRI's diagnostic function," notes Christina Barton (director, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington), Lynn "recodes its imagery as a sequence of mysterious chambers containing the dreams, memories and desires that science cannot catalogue."


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Covent Garden 12 & 14 Grape Street, London WC2H 8DY