Ian Emes, ECHOES, 20 April – 3 June 2018, No 20 Arts

  • Imagery courtesy of  Ian Emes
  • Words  Abi Buller

The kaleidoscopic mind of British artist and film director, Ian Emes, is celebrated in No 20’s new experimental display of contemporary art. ECHOES is comprised of work produced during the 1970s and 80s, and contemporary work including intricate hand-drawn animation cells, dream-based paintings, and a multi-screen installation that explores the relationship between music and moving image.

“I am fascinated by the flow of imagination prompted by music and how to interpret this both freely and structurally”

CIRRUS MINOR - LIMITED EDITION GICLEE PRINT - 160 X 60cm - 2017 re:1970
ATOM HEART MOTHER - LIMITED EDITION GICLEE PRINT - 160 X 60cm - 2017 re:1969
Capturing the free-spirited rebellion of the 70s, eccentric visuals nod towards the anarchic energy of a youth benefitting from a cost-free education. Geometric shapes dance among an explosion of colour and a hypnotic flow draws the eye into the artist’s conceptual narratives. Emes was able to aesthetically uplift the rhythms of the psychedelic rock band, having first attracted the attention of Pink Floyd with his experimental film French Windows (1972). He would later go on to be responsible for creating the supporting visuals of one of the greatest albums ever produced, Dark Side of the Moon. While perhaps most widely accredited for his work with Pink Floyd, Emes’s creative collaborations also included commissions by other highly acclaimed names in the music industry. In the decades following the successes with Pink Floyd, he went on to work with Mike Oldfield, Linda and Paul McCartney, and Duran Duran, among others.

TWIN TOWERS - KODALITH CELLS, GOUCHE, CARD - 1981
“When I began to set my moving images to Pink Floyd music I was unprepared for the dynamic fusion that occurred, the spatial excitement that exploded into light”
ONE OF THESE DAYS STORYBOARD - PRINT ON CANVAS - 250 X 180 - 2017 re:1972

This exhibition offers an intriguing sense of immersion and a window into the mind of Emes’s fascinating approach to his craft. Abiding by a free-flowing style and a reliance on a stream of consciousness, ECHOES portrays an art form that has the ability to merge the most delicate of drawings with the delicious waves of synthetic beats. Combining meticulous motion with coincidental jumps, Emes’s visuals are an exercise in the law of graduality; encouraging subtle climbs and a softness in pace and tempo. Reimagined in light of our fast-paced society and ever-increasing demand for newness.

ECHOES restores and revisits a style of work that would otherwise be saturated by a vastly modernised technological approach and a turbulence in visual energy. By celebrating this archived footage, a nostalgic simplicity is offered with Emes’s archive work being admired alongside his more contemporary works. Having previously been featured in major exhibitions, including Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A (2017), No 20 offers a refreshingly intimate spirit, which recaptures some of the simplicity present in the eye of the artist.


DINER - KODALITH CELLS, GOUCHE, CARD - 1981
DON’T WALK - KODALITH CELLS, GOUCHE, CARD - 1981
“And there we have it, chaos and order, free-form and structure, fuel to the engine of creativity that takes us into unknown territory”
On show from 20 April – 3 June 2018, ECHOES is the latest iteration of No 20’s programme of exhibitions and events to support both established and emerging artists.
PALACE - KODALITH CELLS, GOUCHE, CARD - 1981

See more at no20arts.com, ianemes.com, abibuller.com