Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum's The Pavilion at London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE
- Friday dispatch
- Read Time: 3 minutes
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, 12 Walbrook, London, EC4N 8AA
27 July 2023 – 13 January 2024
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum is widely known for her drawings, paintings and film installations that reflect the diverse genealogies of her experiences living across different continents, including Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.
The Pavilion, 2023, presented on the ground floor of London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, is Sunstrum’s first public solo-exhibition. Reacting to the history of the site - a Roman temple that was discovered underneath a building’s construction site in 1954 - Sunstrum’s commission explores how the public engages with archives and artefacts, and their presentation in museum spaces.
When entering the exhibition, we encounter a large, wooden pavilion-like structure, collaboratively created with Remco Osório Lobato. Interconnected viewing booths showcase a kaleidoscopic archive of Sunstrum’s animations, dating from 2007 to 2016, reflecting her ongoing research into ancient mythologies, scientific theories, mythological archetypes and the cosmos.
Exploring the viewer’s relationship with museums and archives, we are invited to engage with the installation in a multitude of ways: Viewing from the front, we can immerse ourselves in her filmic oeuvre, featuring silent analogue screens, recessed views and portals. When exploring the reverse side of the pavilion, we discover a secluded area of contemplation adorned with multifaceted furnishings, hand-painted and embellished by Sunstrum herself.
A particular highlight of the exhibition is one of Sunstrum’s earliest animation works, A Short History: Starring Asme as Herself, 2007, in which the artist first introduced her alter ego Asme. Asme embodies the idea of the self in multiplicity, a character Sunstrum continues to use in her practice as a conduit to reflect on aspects of modern society, as well as her own life.
Encased in another orifice is the captivating film, Spin, 2013. Bringing together drawings and appropriated images from Eadweard Muybridge’s motion study photographs, the artist employs collage as a visual language, to tell a fantastical story of celestial and earthly beings.
Overall, the animations and furnishings of The Pavilion present a mesmerising fusion of art, design, history, and mythology, whilst referencing the very way we encounter and study these ideas. Sunstrum’s unique approach to storytelling and her stunning animations are captivating, making this immersive site-specific installation a journey through time, space and the boundless realms of human imagination. Sunstrum invites us to reflect on the mysteries of the universe by offering us - as she puts it - ‘a poetic cosmogony and personal interpretation of the order of things’.
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s creative vision and interpretation of the myth of Mytra at the historic site of the Roman Temple of Mithras is a poetic ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (total work of art) that brings a new perspective to the site’s rich archaeological history.
The Roden Senior Curator
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE
12 Walbrook, London, EC4N 8AA
Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sundays 12-5pm, Wednesday (during term time) 12.30-6pm, First Thursday of the month 10am-8pm
Exhibition open until 20 January 2024