Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism.

Sian Gray delves into the dark and dangerous world of Mother Nature.

Within the Bermondsey Project Space building is a 7000sq ft exhibition by Hugo Dalton and curated by Edward Lucie-Smith, that is like no other. Mother Nature B.D.S.M is complex, sexual, daring and, importantly, more dangerously thrilling than you could ever imagine.

On entering the main space you have to wait a few seconds to let your eyes adjust to what is presented before you. The room is drenched in red light and blanketed in the sounds of the composer James Dooley. Objects punctuate the space and include a metal heart from which hangs bondage equipment and an orchid. There’s a revolving, diamante studded pear and a disco ball transformed into an oversized ball gag. You’re in your mind’s laboratory, and Dalton is the alchemist.

After that, the huge and disturbing line drawings that cover the white walls become apparent. They are heavy with symbolism. There are giant hands that twist, turn and grasp at the organic shapes of plants, orchids, bullrushes. They bulge and swell as they creep over the wall and consume it. They are elegant but carnivorous, captivating but claustrophobic. These drawings are an ivy, sucking you in and trapping you. They are Keats’ La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and the setting to a Lars Von Trier film.

The title points, directly, towards the powerful dangers of the natural world. Here, our relationship with Nature is seen to be deteriorating like a bad romance. We remember her as a force to be worshipped, but see her as one to be feared; one that we are destroying but who, in return, will destroy us. Fear is fetishized. The lights and music give the curvilinear shapes a pulse which emphasise the biological aspects of the static images and load it with livid eroticism.

Dalton and Lucie-Smith have curated an exhibition that stays imprinted on the mind. It unlocks the sub-conscious, threatens the senses and plays, toys, mocks and excites every inch of your body. It is terrifying and delightful, and I loved every minute.

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