The Uncanny, Ronchini Gallery

Something strange is happening at Mayfair’s Ronchini Gallery right now. Their exhibition The Uncanny features the work or young emerging artists Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde, both of whom produce art which play around with concepts of reality, presenting images and objects which are both unnatural and strange, yet strikingly familiar.
Installation image, The Uncanny: Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde, Ronchini Gallery London, photo Susanne Hakuba

Installation image, The Uncanny: Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde, Ronchini Gallery London, photo Susanne Hakuba

The show’s title is inspired by an essay written by Sigmund Freud in 1919, in which he explored the idea that the strange cannot exist without the normal, the unfamiliar wouldn’t exist without the familiar. It was his view that the Uncanny was not simply something weird or unknown, but rather something strangely familiar.
Installation image, The Uncanny: Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde, Ronchini Gallery London, photo Susanne Hakuba

Installation image, The Uncanny: Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde, Ronchini Gallery London, photo Susanne Hakuba

Despite initial appearances, the photographs of Berndnaut Smilde don’t rely on photoshopping or digital technology for their bizarre content. His clouds, which hang mysteriously in empty interiors, are created using a smoke machine combined with moisture. They float like ghosts, unexpected, surprising and rather lonely.
Adeline de Monseignat, Hairy Eye Ball, 2011, Vintage Fur, pillow filler and glass, 30 x 30 x 26 cm, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Galley

Adeline de Monseignat, Hairy Eye Ball, 2011, Vintage Fur, pillow filler and glass, 30 x 30 x 26 cm, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Galley

Adline de Monseignat’s sculptures combine vintage animal fur and glass globes. The end results are intriguingly tactile, and also decidedly unsettling. They sit on the floor, or rest in piles of sand. In one example here, in which the globe sits on a tiny metal frame bed, the fur inside pulses slowly, falling and rising in drowsy breaths. The Uncanny also features de Monseignat’s mirrored ‘babies’, each modelled on a real person, perfectly matching their birth weight and size. They sit swaddled on chairs, silently reflecting back the face of the viewer.
Adeline de Monseignat, Loleta, 2012, Vintage Fur, pillow filler, glass, motor, wood on 2 tonnes of sand, Variable installation, Courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery

Adeline de Monseignat, Loleta, 2012, Vintage Fur, pillow filler, glass, motor, wood on 2 tonnes of sand, Variable installation, Courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery

The exhibits in The Uncanny perfectly demonstrate Freud’s theory. There’s nothing inherently strange in glass or fur, clouds or empty rooms, but place them together in unexpected combinations and suddenly you find yourself encountering moments of pure magic.
<i>The Uncanny</i>, curated by James Putnam, will be at Ronchini Gallery London until 16 February
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3 Responses to “The Uncanny, Ronchini Gallery”

  1. This looks really intresting, have just completed an installation of my own based on ‘the uncanny’ so must definitely check out this exhibition!

    • Sounds interesting – tell me more!

      • Well I’ve been looking at a variety of artists whose work deals with the concept of the uncanny and so influenced primarily by Mike Nelson’s ‘The Coral Reef’, I decided to create an installation based on the idea of a child’s bedroom presented in a way that was somewhat unnerving and uncanny.

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