Rob Kennedy @ CCA
Is there anything to do here, is there anything to see? The title of Rob Kennedy’s show might be the cry of his audience – tentative, impatient – as they take on the marathon that is GI and get tetchy.
And who can blame them? Arrive at CCA and you can’t even get into the gallery – Kennedy has blocked off the usual entrance with a pile of debris. Walls have been knocked through, reconfiguring the space. But it’s not really that difficult. Encountering the works simply requires a bit of awareness.
Like one of those films with a non-linear, fragmented narrative, the show returns your attention time and again to aspects of its form. Kennedy has selected works by others to show alongside his own videos, each incorporating dialogues or multiple points of view.
In his three-screen video work Have faith or pandemonium (2010), a drama unfolds in grey corporate corridors with three actors engaged in exchanges butchered from film and TV scripts. Shot across three cameras, we see them from multiple angles, both in character and out of it – though the pretence of the drama is unconcealed.
Another video, Trilogy (2008), considers whether it’s possible to luxuriate in the technique, craft and seductive qualities of film and TV while simultaneously critiquing them.
Considering these questions takes some concentration, though, because competing with the videos is the noise from the ping-pong table in the centre of the gallery – a work by Julius Koller. Offering art-goers the opportunity to play ping-pong could atone for much of the wankiness of contemporary art and should happen in every gallery. But if you don’t play, you can just admire the cheek of installing it mere metres away from a priceless Walter Sickert painting. [Jac Mantle]