Jac Leirner at White Cube Masons Yard


As the title of the exhibition clearly states, this is a show about drugs. Or the habitual users of drugs and the paraphernalia collected and associated with drug use. The upper gallery is almost empty but for two high tension wires dissecting the white space. On one, a string of hundreds of rolled cigarette butts and spliff roaches amass end to tarred end. It is an once a document to addiction, or at least habit and a division, physically breaking up the room, separating the user from the clean. 

Similarly saved cigarette papers have been unrolled in the main space downstairs; flattened, glued and mounted on card or plywood they exhibit waves of brown inhalation, oddly attractive despite their source. The packets of rolling papers have also been kept, dozens of brands and sizes. Leirner has mounted them horizontally, again on small wooden planks, and they are hung around the gallery like some sort of code. 

It feels scientific - there are rhythms and patterns to the curation of these works even though each of the pieces individually is small and simple. Time is evident in the show as a whole - how much has been smoked and how long for. The collection accounts for thirty-odd years, the ephemera and detritus building in her home - it was only over a cocaine binge lasting some days that much of it was photographed and a body of work was made from it. 

There is a tiny head sculpted from cocaine and a heart as well, minute three dimensional doodles blown up large for the show - it is not that they lack charm or some skill, it is merely that much like hearing about someone's dream, it is a wilder ride being on drugs than witnessing someone else on them. 

http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/jac_leirner_masons_yard_2016/ until May 14th