Nick Hackworth

Abigail Lane: Tomorrows world, Yesterdays fever, Victoria Miro Gallery

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

The dubious pleasure of a trawl through the unconscious mind of an artist is on offer here. Given the famously debauched lifestyles of some of the young British artist pack, of which Lane is a member, who knows what horrors might lie in wait?

True to YBA form, however, Lane treats a potentially serious subject with the lightest of touches. Three room-sized installations take us on a fantasy Freudian fun-ride. Much overused, the adjective “Freudian” is actually appropriate in this case. The three characters who appear in these works seem to represent Freud’s tripartite division of the mind into the id, ego and super-ego.

In the first room we meet The Figment, a small, mischievous, bald- headed, imp-like creature, projected onto a wall. Muttering incomprehensibly, gyrating and gesticulating, and at one point apparently swearing at us, The Figment captures the essence of the id perfectly, that primal part of the self that craves the instant gratification of our basic desires.

Next we meet The Inclination, a character that attempts to tame the id’s desires with reason. Manifest as the artist herself kitted out in a fetching white PVC catsuit, complete with pointy feet and head-mounted torch, The Inclination stars in a short film. A repeated sequence features Lane emerging from a sea (of chaos) and crawling onto a rocky beach (of order) lit by the unsettling combination of a pre-dawn glow and focused film lights. A piece that might have been sunk by repetitiveness is saved by a pervasive sense of mystery.

In the final room we are greeted with a projection of a life-sized human dressed in a panda suit, armed with a trumpet and standing in a leafy glade who disappears in a puff of magic smoke as soon as its grotesque performance is complete. Whether a piece of fun or a subtle and surreal critique of western civilisation’s dependency on reason as an organising principle for society, The Inspirator will, at least, make you leave with a smile.

At 16 Wharf Road, N1, until 10 November. Telephone: 020 7336 8109