Legacy is a tricky thing to depict. The nuance of ages past is often lost in the artists’ translation. Or it’s deemed too esoteric by those looking for the unifying thread that connects works together. So how do we best represent the complexities of time and experience? And what place has the arts to reshape archives to be accessible, representative and challenging? These are the questions I find myself asking of Platform 22. On now at Site Gallery, Yorkshire Artspace's Persistence Works, and Bloc Projects, this three-part exhibition features work by five emerging Sheffield-based artists.
My first port of call is Site Gallery, for the section titled Dark Echoes. As I enter the large white cube, I see a delightful array of tactile and homely images. I become both perturbed and transfixed by Tyler Mellins’s work Receiver. Scaffold poles, aerials and old terrestrial televisions are repurposed to create an obelisk of unsettling dimensions. An idiot’s lantern (to quote post-war prime minister Clement Attlee on the captivating power of the TV). The flickering and snowy screens pop with found footage, creating a counterpoint to the overcast, white-out pallet of the artist’s digital drawings, Sigils for Communication. These drawings use the self-same forms. In doing so, they reinforce the melancholy one often feels the keenest when remembering the recent past. In an increasingly digital world, these data ghosts of analogue amusement call from the beyond to will us to remember them.