Monuments to Collapse: Denis Masi

Serpentine South Gallery 5 Mar — 3 Apr 1988 Free

This was Denis Masi’s first one-man show in London since 1979.

Monuments to Collapse was the shared title for two exhibitions of Masi’s work in London in 1988, shown at the Serpentine Gallery and the Imperial War Museum. The works on display were new but represented a culmination of his ideas and preoccupations over a decade.

Two installations on display at the Serpentine Gallery were Prompt (1977-87) and Enclosure (1980/84-87). In Enclosure, once the viewer had physically squeezed through the gap in the entrance barriers, they found themselves within an enclosure of hurricane fencing, topped with razor wire. The floor of the enclosure was covered with black tarpaulin, scattered with straw and feathers. From a row of metal containers arose the strong aroma of tar. The tarred-and-feathered reference in this piece pointed to a specific commentary on Northern Ireland, as did the soundtrack.

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