“Once you have walked the road, Everything becomes clear”

So begins The Road: Part II, James Lavelle (UNKLE)‘s enig­mat­ic lat­est album, the sec­ond of a tril­o­gy. And spring­ing from this work is Beyond the Road, a mul­ti-sen­so­ry exhi­bi­tion tak­ing place at the Saatchi Gallery, Lon­don. Through sound, film and visu­al effects you can take that jour­ney your­self – a voy­age of dis­cov­ery, with Lavelle’s expan­sive music at its heart.

Being at Beyond the Road is to be ful­ly immersed in anoth­er world, from the minute you make your way to the top floor of the gallery and enter the dark space, which cre­ates a dis­ori­en­tat­ing effect and helps trans­port you into its secret space.

With the sound­track, a rework­ing of ele­ments from both albums (Ar.Mour sound­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive), your per­son­al jour­ney leads you through rooms and cor­ri­dors, each space offer­ing a con­tem­pla­tive and visu­al set­ting with sur­pris­es at every turn; as the music and light­ing con­tin­u­ous­ly alter, your own unique expe­ri­ence shifts. And always that dream­like sound­track is there, pro­pelling you for­ward through your adven­ture. Many visu­al artists were invit­ed to be involved in the exhi­bi­tion so expect to see work by artists such as BAFTA win­ner Dan­ny Boyle, artist

We went expect­ing to spend an hour or so… we even­tu­al­ly left well after over two hours, unwill­ing to drag our­selves back to real life, so cocooned by the dreamy sound­track and the dis­cov­er­ies each room pre­sent­ed. Some areas have seat­ing invit­ing­ly placed so you could sit and enjoy each space more ful­ly. You are encour­aged to linger and make the expe­ri­ence your own.

We were so wrapped up in the mul­ti-sen­so­ry nature of it all that we almost for­got to notice the per­fumes that waft through the space, then peer­ing at a dis­play of bot­tles in a mir­rored cab­i­net we caught hints of a gen­tle fra­grance in the air. There were very occa­sion­al scary moments, and then oth­ers of great beau­ty. Can­dles, hearts, skulls, a memen­to mori above a fire­place… themes of love and death give the observ­er cause to reflect… and there are oppor­tu­ni­ties to search for and – maybe find – answers.

At one point you are jolt­ed out of your rever­ie by visu­als which are of a less con­tem­pla­tive nature, maybe to alert you that your time in this mind-alter­ing and med­i­ta­tive space is com­ing to an end. But I’ll leave it there, you need to dis­cov­er this intrigu­ing and lyri­cal expe­ri­ence for yourself.

The work was devel­oped by Col­in Nightin­gale and Stephen Dob­bie of Punch­drunk in col­lab­o­ra­tion with James Lavelle of UNKLE.

Beyond the Road,  pre­sent­ed by Beyond Projects. NOW EXTENDED TILL SEPTEMBER 8 Sept 2019

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