Despite consisting of only three works, this exhibition is the gallery equivalent of a cryptic crossword. Aque’s photographic diptychs marry views of sea waves at the shore with candid street photographs of men. The colours have faded, as though in cheap holiday snapshots from the 1970s. But that clue is a decoy: the men wear this decade’s casual summer attire. The knee-to-breast close-ups which centre on the men’s groins invite closer inspection and thus lay a false trail of desire in the puzzler’s mind. More hints appear in a sideways glance because while one of the men comfortably sports a wedding ring, the other precariously fidgets with his.
Khondji’s flood barrier installation, the type of steel and rubber construction familiar from Venice, cuts the room in half. The scale and material of this object contrast so starkly with the street scenes and scents of Aque’s portraits that it cues an escape to the beach, paradoxically the origin of the peril, earlier overlooked by the clue-hunter. Finally, the eye finds the solution in the weight of the water and the destructive forces of sex. Aesthetic cognition or crossword puzzles only rarely bring such perverse pleasure.