Jeremy Shaw | Phase Shifting Index
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France | 26.2.–20.4.2020

Since the mid-2000s, Canadian artist Jeremy Shaw (born in 1977, based in Berlin) has established a multifaceted artistic practice that combines disparate sources of inspiration ranging from spiritual beliefs to neuroscience. His fascination with the mapping of the human mind and mechanisms of perception is coupled with an interest in belief systems, subculture, and transcendental experience. At the Centre Pompidou, Jeremy Shaw presents his first major museum exhibition in France with a new immersive installation, “Phase Shifting Index”.

At the entrance of the exhibition, a series of Shaw’s “Towards Universal Pattern Recognition” photographic sculptures are displayed. These objects contain archival images of people experiencing spiritual or hedonistic rapture and are framed under precisely crafted prismatic lenses that create a psychedelic fracturing of the image. Through a long ramped incline, the viewer then enters “Galerie 3” from a platform overlooking an immersive, seven-channel video installation. The seven videos presented in the space depict what appears to be documentary footage of subcultures of the future that engage movement-based belief systems as tools towards inducing parallel realities. Drawing from a wide cross-section of codified subcultural and spiritual movement styles, the seven groups of “Phase Shifting Index” incorporate gestural elements ranging from technical to somatic, from meditative to ecstatic.

Every 25 minutes, an additional soundtrack floods the room and the once independent films come together in a unified choreographic sync. An identical repetitive and cathartic dance is enacted by the subjects of all films, coupled with onscreen strobe lighting effects - uniting the seven screens into a pulsing, synchronised whole. This cohesive moment of dance spans across decades of time and media and engulfs the viewer in its immersive wake. Suddenly, all screens rupture into a meltdown of digital visual effects that consume the installation - devolving from para-fictional documentary compilation to immersive psychedelic art installation within seconds.

The Centre Pompidou has joined forces with the Swiss Institute, New York, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) and Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania and the Frankfurter Kunstverein to co-produce the films presented in the exhibition and show it in three different forms, from February 2020 at the Centre Pompidou, then in April at the Swiss Institute (2 April-14 June 2020), and finally in June at Mona (6 June 2020-5 April 2021). The Centre Pompidou and the Swiss Institute have co-edited the artist’s first complete monograph, published in French and English.