Altered states

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Altered states

"Choose your animal, transform yourself," invites Jean-Luc Vilmouth in the catalogue for his show which opens at the Camden Arts Centre today. For Vilmouth his animal is an elephant. The artist stares from the cover of the catalogue with his head enclosed in the plastic mask of an elephant head. Such transformations are central to all Vilmouth's work. In the past he has achieved this by creating unexpected juxtapositions which bring the natural world back into the contemporary urban environment and vice versa. Notable projects include his creation of cafs which are in themselves art-objects, a spiral staircase installed around a palm tree, a wallpaper design which reproduces a photograph of a landscape and the re-directing of a busy Grenoble commuter train through the middle of an art exhibition. Most recently Vilmouth has installed a shoal of mechanised fish in the Waterloo terminal of Eurostar. In a similar vein, an important part of the Camden show, is "Bar des Acariens" - a room installation in which the surfaces of caf tables reveal magnified photographs of dust- mites. Vilmouth's talent lies in his ability to invest the mundane everyday object with forgotten or unsuspected quasi-magical properties. He invites us as viewers to return to a state of grace, to re-adjust our view of the planet. That is the principle. To see how it works for yourself visit the show. Or you could try putting on an animal mask and looking in the mirror.

Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, NW3 (0171-435 2643) to 4 Jun. Free admission

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