Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hussein Chalayan: I Am Sad Leyla

Last night we visited the Lisson Gallery for the opening of Hussein Chalayan's I Am Sad Leyla. A multilayered work comprising film, music, fashion and sculpture, 'Leyla' has at its heart a popular Turkish song Uzgunum Leyla, or I Am Sad Leyla (maybe better translated as I Am Sorry, Leyla), originally composed in 1940 and forming part of a classical Arabic story of star crossed lovers - this song describes Leyla's lover Mejnun's despair at being finally separated from her. You rarely hear music in this kind of space, and certainly never music this beautiful, so if nothing else we were grateful to Mr Chalayan for letting us experience this. The film of Sertab Erener (Turkey's biggest selling female singer) performing the song in Chalayan in front of an orchestra certainly had a designer's eye for presentation and understated yet sumptuous colour. And in a characteristically futuristic touch a pure white 3D scanned life size sculpture of the singer had her face projected onto it, 'performing' the song in sync with the film below, and also in sync with an empty room next door where you could experience the music free from any other associations.

The artist himself was on hand in his best dinner suit to pass out little wrapped sugared almond favours at the door, in a lovely final touch - they made a lovely dessert after visiting a Persian cafe on nearby Edgware Rd for an appropriate post show meal. On until 2 October at the Lisson.

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