BEX ILSLEY – CACOTOPIA 04, WEEK TWO, ANNKA KULTYS GALLERY, LONDON, January 2020 – Bex Ilsley has taken over the walls of East London’s Annka Kultys Gallery for the second week of the already rather impressive fourth Cacotopia thing. Hot on the leafy green heals of Nicole Coson, Bex Ilsley has her work cut out, the layers of week one were rather good and Cacotopia, as we said last week, already has a reputation in terms of introducing exciting artists. Cacotopia is an annual thing, no prizes for guessing this is year four, four artists taking over the Hackney Road gallery for a week each, this is week two. .
Bex Ilsley is a “transdisciplinary artist working across video, photography, performance, virtual reality, installation and sculpture. Her work explores the spaces between the real and virtual and the self and the other. Ilsley looks at online trends and oddities, seeking to parody them as a form of critique” so we’re told. “For Cacotopia 04 Ilsley will present several large digital prints on fabric from her Splits (2019) series accompanied by videos from the same series. The works themselves are the product of an artistic exploration of what it means to experience an ‘unstable sense of self’ (at both a personal and universal level) in the age of Instagram-reality and the ‘Good Vibes Only’ cult. In each work Ilsley can be seen performing a different version of herself, similar to the way Cindy Sherman created and performed different roles within her photography, but in a tech-stylised aesthetic featuring saturated fluorescent and neon colours”
And yes, these bright pieces do nod, in a very positive way, towards the excitement of Cindy Sherman in a very very right here kind of way. Bex Ilsley IS Teletubby bright, actually she kind of looks like Karl Lagerfeld in that one over there. These pieces are fun, they might just be a little disturbing, no, not disturbing, there is something a little unsettling about them though – maybe it is the acidic colour? The futurist feel? The almost black eyes, are those eyes a little alien? Are the eyes the unsettling thing? If these pieces are unsettling, then they are in a delightfully unsettling way – bold bright future-as-now instagram age views or portraits or reflections or mirrors – “the age of Instagram-reality” – yes, I like that. Yes, I like this, I like week two, somehow, Bex Ilsley (and indeed Ankka Kultys) has followed the high of Nicole Coson’s first-week greenery with something very vert nearly equally as rewarding. Two down, two to go, year four, so far, is living up to the high standards and unexpected delights of previous Cacotopia deliveries and like Nicole Coson last week or Marton Nemes last year, Bex Ilsley is clearly a name to watch out for. Once again you’re going to need to be quick to catch week two, these shows are only a week long, do try to catch Bex Ilsley’s week if you possibly can… (sw)
Bex Ilsley’s work is currently on view at Annka Kultys Gallery, the second instalment of Cacotopia 04. Cacotopia will unfold over the course of four weeks, with a new artist being featured each week. This fourth edition features Nicole Coson, Bex Ilsley, Garrett Pruter and Richie Culver and follows its now traditional format of allocating each artist a solo exhibition of one week’s gallery time during the month long show.
Bex Ilsley: Week 2 – 23 January – 25 January 2020
Garrett Pruter: Week 3 – 30 January – 1 February 2020
Richie Culver: Week 4 – 6 February – 8 February 2020
Annka Kultys Gallery is at 472 Hackney Road,1st Floor, London E2 9EQ. You find it upstairs via the red door by the side of the shop right by the bus stop…Thursday to Saturday, 12pm – 6pm or by appointment.
Click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show…