Socrates hit the nail on the head with his paraphrased paradox that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing. Artist Olivia Steele would seem to sympathise with the wily old Greek – her physical and spiritual travels have left her with, she says, more questions than answers, and the confusion just seems to grow and grow. What has come out of all this soul-searching though is her belief that “nothing is what it seems”, and that’s the title of Steele’s latest exhibition at Circle Culture Gallery, Hamburg.
The collection is comprised of a series of photographs and her latest neon sign installations. Normally associated with urban commercial businesses, the American’s neon messages are displayed in all manner of unusual locations, creating an interesting jarring between environment and message. Steele also pairs her neon with found objects and photographs; with her neon on aluminium work Wish You Were Here she has won the prize for least inviting travel postcard ever, and there is some wry humour to be found amongst the philosophical angst. Recently previewed in a public exhibition, Nothing Is What It Seems is open by appointment at the Hamburg gallery until 13 September.