Some beautiful colours were on display at Blank Space on Thursday, where Glasgow School of Art trained Liz West’s Chroma explored how objects are collected, grouped, and (always artificially) brought together under particular classificatory systems. For me these themes are naturally fascinating – not just for reasons of Information Science, but as Liz’s exhibition showed, because of the psychological and aesthetic decisions that feed into our perceptions of particular items or item types. Colour is just one way to group things – but if everything is uniformly yellow, or green, does that mean we fail to perceive (or ignore?) just how different those items actually are? Do they become somehow more deeply alike?
The use of distinct coloured lighting in site-specific installations, spread across multiple rooms, created a mood that was somewhere between children’s play area and nightclub; quite an accomplishment. “Orange Chamber” was a particularly memorable piece; viewers had to crouch down on the carpet and peer through a long narrow slit at a sea of objects (litter? toys? factory products?) brightly lit and then intensified/multiplied by the use of mirrors. Seeing your own partial reflection at the back of the enclosure naturally implicates you and your own collecting/colouring habits! Tucked away at the very end of Hulme Street near the motorway, Blank Space (which, run by Blank Media Collective, opened just last year) “champions emerging artists, writers, musicians and performers by giving them a unique platform to showcase their work”. The slightly scruffy location only makes the friendly chilled-out space inside feel like even more of a gem.