this artist is offering spiritual guidance via a telephone

Starting today, Boston-born artist Matt Hilvers will be dishing out free advice at Piccadilly Circus Station

by Tish Weinstock
15 February 2018, 5:55pm

In serious need of some spiritual advice? Then look no further than Whistling in the Dark, a new performance piece by Chicago-born artist Matt Hilvers. Taking over brand new project space, Soft Opening, located in the central underbelly of Piccadilly Circus Station, Matt has rented an 0800 number which commuters and passersby can call up for some free psychic guidance, from an assortment of pre-recorded messages. There’s also a direct line to the artist himself, whereby Matt will be sharing some of his own personal, emotional and physical inadequacies. What happens when the person dishing out advice is no more equipped to deal with life than you?

Elsewhere in the space, Matt will be showcasing Singing in the Rain (Hear Me), a video installation featuring the artist dancing, as he comes to terms with his own body dysmorphia and the fraught relationship with his own image. The video also functions as a moving image advert for the 0800 number.

“For me the show thinks about what it means to take my shirt off and look at my soft stomach in the mirror,” Matt tells i-D. “When you squeeze your stomach in the middle and grip the soft part. But then also that feeling when you dance in front of a large crowd, knowing that you might not be the best at it, but that you feel so strongly about it so you have to do it anyway...knowing that you’re not good enough but still doing it. But then dismissing that thought by the sound of wooden soled shoes on a hardwood floor.”

Whistling in the Dark follows on from a brief warm-up installation from London filmmaker Frank Lebon, who re-conceived the space as a kind of interactive peephole, through which he filmed commuters on their way to work. I’m interested in inviting artists who also work as curators as part of their practice and so that’s something to keep an eye out for,” says Soft Opening founder and curator, Antonia Marsh. “Curating is such a fruitful and productive field of inquiry that I think is too often overlooked, so I want some of the focus of the space to be on that. The next show will be art director and stylist Theo White’s Oh, Freedom! which takes as a springboard the upcoming second iteration of his 2017 self-titled zine. The show will include a collaboration with photographer Giovanni Corabi and they’re planning on building a teenage boy’s bedroom into the space so that’ll be a trip to see in the tube station.”

Matt Hilvers Whistling in the Dark will be showing from 15 February - 11 March at Unit 7, Piccadilly Circus underground station

soft opening
whistling in the Dark
matt hilvers