Alex Hartley: After You Left, Victoria Miro, Wharf Road (until 16 December)
To my mind the best—and now most prescient—work of art to be associated with the 2012 Cultural Olympiad was Alex Hartley’s Nowhereisland, a nomadic island revealed by a retreating glacier. He towed it from the Arctic to the south coast of England as a visiting “island nation” with citizenship open to all. Hartley is unravelling more utopian dreams at Victoria Miro, where he has memorialised (and satirised) the legacy of Modernist architecture in a brilliantly constructed ruin that seems to be sinking into the canal behind the gallery. It is no coincidence that this decaying wreck is overlooked by shiny new blocks of flats which plunder the motifs of Modernism with none of the ideology. Inside, there is more entropy and boundary-blurring as plinths made from chunks of concrete stand alongside photographs of dense jungle. On the walls, shadowy images of classic West Coast domestic Modernism can be seen through an elegant fog of Perspex and paint splatters.
Image: Ohra (North East Elevation), 2016