Nick Hackworth

Liam Gillick: Get Lost, Wood Way Whitechapel Art Gallery

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

On the strength of this exhibition, Liam Gillick is widely tipped to be nominated for this year’s Turner Prize. His general concerns revolve around the urban environment and its political and economic dimensions. The precise nature of these concerns, though, are hard to fathom, either from the art works themselves or from his writing (he operates in both disciplines) — but perhaps such pedantic exactitude should be left at the door.

In the Whitechapel’s expansive lower gallery, Gillick’s concerns have taken material form. He has created a labyrinthine structure out of wooden planks, with regular gaps between them that give the structure a lightness and allow visitors to see through it. Set in and around the construction are about 20 of the hollow, box-like works that Gillick is best known for.

The frames are formed from grey, paint-coated aluminium struts and hold in place pieces of brightly coloured Plexiglas. The forms are varied in size and shape, though all are square or rectangular. The size, colour and location of the Plexiglas within the frames vary too, as does the display of the pieces. Most sit on the floor, but a few, flatter, crate-shaped forms are mounted on the ceiling.

A walk around the gallery is pleasant enough. The works are colourful and evoke a high-modernist chic with their obvious homage to the minimalist, rectilinear aesthetic of Miles van der Roche. I doubt, however, that they will stimulate much debate about the built environment and the power relationships concealed within it, as Gillick’s windy statements suggest they ought to.

Enlightenment is imminent, however: within Gillick’s installations, German artists Benita and Immanuel Grosser will be conducting regular yoga sessions that will “integrate the philosophy and practice of yoga into the context of art, and provide an intersection between the two kinds of work” — which sounds great.

Until 23 June. Information: 020 7522 7878