Jonathan Ross Holography Collection

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6 April – 21 June 2023

Gallery 286, London.

Holograms from the 1970s-2000s, selected from the Jonathan Ross Collection by Sydney Koke.

This new exhibition includes work from 15 international artists represented in the collection.  It has been curated by Sydney Koke, a Canadian musician, scientist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Paris, France.


Sydney Koke writes:

Like the many forms of contemporary art that we are now used to seeing—but not beholding—on screen, holograms require our embodied experience to be fully perceived.

With a depth and dimensionality corresponding to that of digital virtual reality, when confronted with a holographic image, we must move our bodies to discover a world that is not immediately visible. Holography asks that we exist simultaneously: to experience the virtual world created by the artist, we must also be IRL, where our bodies search and swipe, manipulating the motion, time, and visual qualities of the hologram. This duality of experience offers critical insight in this moment, when we all must address the tangible and conflicting demands of diplomacy and crisis, which are affected and even created by the online virtual worlds that we increasingly inhabit.

This exhibition looks back through holography from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, and celebrates the spirit of generosity and mind-expanding adventure shared by the artists of the international holography community. As a guest curator in the Jonathan Ross collection, I have specifically chosen to present holograms that illustrate the range of possibilities for personal self-expression, world-building, and shape-shifting: Susan Cowles’ House of Moons (A Stage for the Chymical Theatre) (1988), which contrasts the technical brilliance of a hologram with a lively ink on paper frame to depict human cognition as a psychedelic theatre; Amy Rush’s vibrant digital hologram I’m Spinning Around (2005), with its newly constructed Alice among the talking flowers-type world; works that connect historical artefacts to contemporary conversations, like Harriet Casdin-Silver’s stunningly body-positive Venus of Willendorf (1991), originally featured on the cover of Sculpture magazine; and works by 12 other international artists, whose meanings are connected, materially and conceptually, to the specificity of holography as a medium.

As a technology with many early applications in politics, medicine, and business, holography holds incredible potential for artists, who have historically overcome the demands of equipment and expertise to create highly intentional work. Although artists working in other mediums have discovered holography’s potential (such as Louise Bourgeois and James Turrell), contemporary holography has not been widely exhibited and, like performance art, holds unique challenges to documentation.

This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience transformative works from just one possible history of holography, in a moment when global centres for holography education, exhibition, and practice are in decline. Paradoxically, recent technological advances have made the process more accessible than ever: the materials required to make holograms, such as lasers and photopolymer film, are relatively affordably and increasingly available. By celebrating the unique expression of these important figures in the history of holography, it is my hope that this exhibition will encourage any one of us to attempt our own holographic works, so that we may invite others into our future as-yet-invisible worlds.

Sydney Koke with Dan Schweitzer’s ‘Seed’



Please visit the Gallery 286 site for an introduction to the exhibition by Jonathan Ross, images of work included and installation pictures of the show.


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