David Panos

Pump House Gallery
Battersea Park
October 4, 2017–December 17, 2017

View of “David Panos,” 2017.

For David Panos, the fabric of a sneaker, text on a high-fashion T-shirt, or the detailing of a baseball cap have the ability to trigger memories. For Reveries & Street Madeleines 2016–17, 2017—one of the pieces that open the exhibition here—the artist has recorded such sartorial cues in furtively shot clips on his iPhone while out and about. For Panos, these moments of now call to mind the aesthetics of 1989: specifically, through the gestures and other forms of expression belonging to various fashion and dance subcultures. His work asks what the revival of these idioms says about how we recycle and manufacture “culture” in 2017.

In the video Memory Assemblages 1–12, 2017, a group of dancers performs a series of moves associated with certain musical genres: waving rave arms, pounding industrial feet. For Untitled (Archive), 2016, clothing and accessories from the archives of the Museum of London and the Victoria and Albert Museum have been selected by the artist and photographed against a green screen. Though the items are pictorial signs of a particular era, they also represent how quickly high street brands replicate fashion trends, as well as nostalgia for authenticity.

Goth is reduced to a series of emojis in the video Untitled, 2017: Black roses, hearts, and painted nails transform a whole movement into miniature cartoons. The collision of online clips, digital samples, and new footage throughout the show appears to have roots in ideas surrounding the remix. Though a remix traditionally acknowledges the differences between the original and the copy, here, everything is combined in such a way as to suggest literal and metaphorical continuities, assorted decades and styles existing on a single temporal plane. This is particularly evident in the immersive four-channel video Time Crystals, 2017, in which a disorienting nightclub scene simultaneously evokes yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

— Philomena Epps