D (Albertine) and H (Gillick) are artists living in a modernist London apartment that has wonderfully artistic feel to it, but also a surgical sensibility. There relationship sees most days spent in their respective workspaces contacting each other via intercom, with H in most cases wondering if D will pop up stairs for some afternoon delight. Oddly enough we never hear their full names and although we get some insight into their attachment to their home we don’t get a run through how and why they seem so very distant. When the apartment is put on the market you feel a chapter in their lives is closing, whether that will bring them closer together or push them apart is all that remains.
Throughout the entire film there is a feeling of them versus us and the sanctity of their home as the silence inside is repeatedly pitted against the outside world of road works and emergency services. Although you can tell that H and D are undoubtedly in love it is clear that in the time they have lived in the apartment something traumatic has happened. They are closed off from the world and their lack of children is repeatedly brought to the fore, although never explored.
Throughout the entire process there is an ever-present distance between the H and D that stretches and contracts as things change around them. The performances by Albertine and Gillick are admirable given they are not screen actors by trade, but in honesty it never really captures the imagination enough to keep the audience interested. There is some wonderful cinematography in the mix and you really feel like you get to know the apartment through the visual and aural mediums, but it isn’t enough.
Failing to fully engage the audience, Exhibition is interesting but not overly entertaining.