Nick Hackworth

In many ways the exhibition has already happened, ICA

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

On the street is where the ICA wants to be, mixing it with DJs, radical designers, crazy artists and anyone else vaguely hip and contemporary. The street it’s currently loitering on is a French one. In Many Ways, featuring Pierre Huyghe, M/M, Philippe Parreno and R&sie... (François Roche and Stéphanie Lavaux), brings together two artists, a graphic design team and an architectural practice, all French and all committed to urban cool. Together they have produced a collaborative exhibition, a sort of art/design/ architectural fusion that looks like a cross between a club and a Hoxton boutique.

A hard-edged urban aesthetic, matched with aggressive but likeable clubby soundtracks, is conjured in videos by Huyghe and Parreno. In the better of the two pieces, the lights in two model tower blocks flicker on and off creating an increasingly swift and complex light show choreographed to music.

The boutique aesthetic is picked up in the middle room of the lower gallery, filled as it is by colour, light and a weird lamp-cum-seat. Posters by graphic designers M/M — some faux-punk, some faux-Belle Epoque — form the background wallpaper. On the floor a TV plays, on a loop, a Björk video co-directed by M/M. It is the attention-seeking lamp-seat that dominates the room. Designed by Huyghe, M/M and Parreno, it consists of a “central seating cluster” from which a spine of tubes extends upwards and individual tubes then stretch out, tentacle-like, across the ceiling feeding numerous light-emit- ting pods.

A room upstairs contains the best work, however. It is a carpet that, using different shades of blue, records the light and shadow that fell on a floor one evening in 2000 — an idea that’s cute, lightly moving and throwaway in equal measure.

While neither stunning nor significant, this exhibition is probably an accurate guide to the direction of some visual contemporary culture. All the collaborators are committed to complexity, urban messiness and organic forms. Straight lines and empty white spaces are out.

Until 20 January. Information: 020 7930 3647