One of the most important private collections in Europe, the Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo includes work by leading international artists. The display is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme showing rarely seen public and private collections.
Viral Research takes its title from a work by US sculptor Charles Ray which features a variety of glass vessels arranged on a transparent table. Each contains the same level of black ink, as if in a chemist’s laboratory. Visually united by this shared horizon of fluid, they are also physically united by glass tubes. Ray combines clinical perfection with the anxiety of contamination, also providing the recurring motif for this display. Questions of perception and a sense of precarious balance are key to all the other works in the show. They are all black and white with the absence of colour creating a moment of suspense reminiscent of a still from an old Hollywood movie.
In Piotr Uklanski’s wall sculpture, Untitled (Alpha & Omega) (2011), an arrangement of pots and vases defies gravity, hanging sideways on the wall. In Cindy Sherman’s monochrome Film Stills (1978–79) girls photographed in different scenarios echo movie history; yet they are all portraits of the artist. Each work in this display is an uncanny version of reality.
The Whitechapel Gallery’s programme of collection displays is supported by: