Mat Collishaw transforms suburban underpass into eerie echolocation film space
The Art Newspaper
At a time when public sculpture is being challenged and toppled, Mat Collishaw’s first permanent outdoor public artwork in the UK offers new ways to engage with the past. There are no plinths or posturing dignitaries to be found in Echolocation, his three channel video projection that was unveiled this week in an inauspicious underpass in Kingston-upon-Thames.
Instead, he uses the latest technology to conjure up a hauntingly atmospheric work that, despite its less than prepossessing site, manages to tap into the rich history of this once hugely important ancient town that has now been absorbed into the conurbation of Greater London.
Echolocation is the technique used by bats, dolphins and other animals to negotiate objects using reflected sound; and the sole protagonist of Collishaw’s six minute film is a skeletal bat which flits in and around a spooky semi-transparent structure that Kingston locals would recognise as the nearby All Saint’s parish church. This now predominantly 19th-century building was the coronation site of several Saxon kings, including Athelstan, who was crowned first king of a unified England in Kingston in 925. Where now there are retail outlets, bars and bike racks was once hallowed ground and by creating a spectral virtual recreation of the church’s past and present architectural incarnations, Collishaw declares that he is “excavating” the church and “trying to resurrect some of the memories, and aura of this once sacred ground.”
April 14, 2021