On view until the 23rd April 2023 is this rather wonderful installation Mumbai based artist Jitish Kallat, which takes the form of two, 336m-long intersecting spirals with signposts indicating distances to places near and far.
The website explains more:
Whorled (Here After Here After Here) is conceived as a seismic ripple or a galactic whorl, spiralling outwards from the centre of the courtyard.
The work draws upon sacred geometry and alchemical diagrams, and like much of Kallat’s work, it interlaces the immediate and the cosmic, the past and present.
Two vast, extended scrolls form interlocking spirals and a continuum of text and symbols which follow the visual identity of the UK’s road signage.
These signs indicate the distance from Somerset House to locations across the planet and beyond, pointing to celestial bodies, such as the Moon, Mars, and distant stars in the Milky Way.
As Kallat’s work playfully reorients the courtyard in relation to a myriad of destinations, both terrestrial and celestial, visitors are invited to take pathways through the interlaced spirals.
Routes through the work map circular movements through space and time. Visitors encounter a continuous shifting of focus as proximate planetary locations border distant and departed supernovae.
Some of the places featured in the work have fallen victim to rising sea levels, while others are known to be under environmental threat of submersion within the next thirty years.
These place names, accompanied by warning signs, resonate with Somerset House’s own proximity to the River Thames and London’s vulnerability to flooding.
The cyclical movements through space and non-linear time prompt a reconsideration of our relationship with the planet, its past and imminent future, and the wider cosmos.
Whorled (Here After Here After Here)
Terrace Rooms, South Wing
Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Runs until 23rdApril 2023