Nottingham Trent University
East England

NTU Fine Art 2013 – ‘CONTINUED’ – Review written by Alexander Nicholas on the work of Paul Buddle.

Entering the piece through a draped black curtain, it was immediate how detached this work was from the rest of the art works in the space around it. This can be considered a negative aspect but in this case it was far from it, how the work is first encountered can be an extremely important aspect, it is obvious how well considered the entrance to the project space is by the artist, in addition to this how aware the artist is that the space outside can affect what is shown inside the room. Once you had passed through the curtain you were led through a door into the area the work was being displayed in. As soon as you enter the space the sound composition that engulfs the space hits you and makes an essentially large room seem a lot smaller and intimate. Whilst the room may seem smaller, this does nothing but enhance the experience of this installation piece. Your eyes are right away directed to the clear plastic tubes that each accommodate small LED lights, that work in conjunction with the rise and fall of the sound levels of the sound composition.

The sound can be heard from a further distance, several meters before you even encounter the curtain, giving the whole space an ominous tone. Not disturbing the rest of the show but acting as a temptation to follow and investigate the origin of the sound. Whilst I had no hesitation in parting the black curtain and venturing inside the space, others found the sound distressing and led them to being reluctant to pass through the curtain and into the darkness into the intimate space, the piece seemed to draw large numbers of spectators into its grasp, but only few continued on past the curtain. I felt that this was unintentional on behalf of the artist, it wash’t due to it being ill-considered in post production, but an unavoidable occurrence that can often take affect when work is situated in darkness or with limited lights and the presence of ominous sound.

Inside the project space, focusing back upon the clear plastic tubes lit with LED lights, these lights illuminated the room, the lights being directly connected to the speakers, as the sound levels increased from each speaker, the conjoined LED light would gradually fade in and fade out, there was a clear pattern in the order that the lights came on. Lighting up as if they were almost in conversation with one another, orchestrating a relationship through the use of lights is something that I had never previously encountered but was a dominant aspect of this extremely well constructed piece. The power that this piece has is at first, unrecognisable, only on later reflection can the sheer power that this installation has be truly recognised and understood. The use of sound and light is reminiscent of death, this was a clear and powerful emotion to evoke onto an audience, and to do it successfully is even more challenging.

Due to the length of the composition, it becomes difficult to indicate where it starts and ends, but enduring the work for long enough, you experience the climax of the piece, the actual ‘end’ of the sound composition leads to a neither sudden or gradual end, but a wizardly charming reflection of life and death, life being present as the lights continue to luminate the space, and when the lights are off in entirety, the feeling of being consumed by an almost unbearable darkness and being abandoned in a space is a clear representation of death. It reminded me that it is very possible for death to be both glamorous and an omnipresent absurdity. It is often disregarded, the feeling that is present upon leaving a piece, but no matter how much time is spent in the space, coming away with a feeling of enlightenment and physical discomfort.