SCAI the Bathhouse
Closes in 31 days

Contemporary can be very hit and miss, but if an artist creates curiosity and wonder in the viewer, the battle is half won. At SCAI the Bathhouse (www.scaithebathhouse.com), Jeppe Hein — who has been described by Francesco Bonami, the director of the 50th Venice Biennale, as a maker of “mental sculptures” — has hit the target with a powerful jet of water which springs out of one wall into another.

On the right hand wall, a hidden pump shoots the water out from a small black hole. On the adjacent wall, an identical hole perfectly catches the liquid. It’s not brain science, yet what glides and then falls between these two walls is both real and unreal. On the right, the gently lit, perfectly formed jet silently glides in front of your eyes like a laser beam or the speed of light visualized. On the left, were gravity kicks in, the unreal turns back into its ordinary form as it sloshes down a chute. Simple yes, but this interactive sculpture captures both the rational and the irrational. One looks for clues and feels the answers are down the holes, yet the jet of water that connects these two walls — the very thing you want to understand — silently stands in your way.

With a schedule which includes stops at both the Tate Modern and New Yorks’s Sculpture Center this year, Hein is definitely an up-and-coming artist. The SCAI might only have a flying ark of water and a few other pieces on show, but Yanaka in Taito-ku is a lot closer than London or New York.

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