Category: Galleries/Exhibitions

Londinium

We visited a few South London galleries on a kind of hidden tour at the Low Residency. Heres a random selection below.

Finnish duo IC-98 large vertical video piece on The Anthropocene.

Old skool YBA material with Gavin Turk at Newport St.

From the maker collective at the Tate Modern, couldn’t see much as had to jump on a plane but liked this Danish girls VR environments, she had built her terrain using imported forest imagery and there was a glitchy element to it I liked.

Guomundsdottir on the strand

I went to see the Bjork’s VR show in Somerset house in London. I had heard mixed reviews about it but as not often in London decided to pop down.

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It was ok. It wasn’t so much the work, which was good but the way it was presented. I couldn’t help feel like I was on a conveyor belt, until the next group come in shortly afterwards.

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The piece that had the most lasting effect on me was ‘NOTGET’, Bjork as moth giantess, quite eerie and spooky as she got bigger and bigger and almost took over the circular space.

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Note to Self:

  • Sat on circular chairs most of the VR pieces were on Samsung smart phones in Samsung VR headsets. The NOTGET piece was on a HTC headset wired from the roof and hooked up to a local PC.
  • Presented thus, it becomes apparent what a nascent technology VR is and I wonder if it will ever take off as an entertainment platform outside of gaming circles. Maybe Augmented Reality has a better chance.

Post Post Post Internet…

A bit late to be mentioning ‘Post-internet’ art but thought I’d touch on it again.

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Artist: Katja Novitskova.

“…in the same way that postmodern artists absorbed and adapted the strategies of modernism—fracturing the picture plane, abstraction, etc.—for a new aesthetic era, post-Internet artists have moved beyond making work dependent on the novelty of the Web to using its tools to tackle other subjects. And while earlier Net artists often made works that existed exclusively online, the post-Internet generation (many of whom have been plugged into the Web since they could walk) frequently uses digital strategies to create objects that exist in the real world.” [1]

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Artists: Harm van den Dorpel + David Bradley.

There is a kind of day-glo clumsiness about some of the pieces that I like, the aesthetic reminds me of the short lived New Rave music genre of about ten years ago.

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Artist: Tim Steer.

“…the most counterintuitive aspect of the post-Internet label is that it extends to work in the traditional formats of painting and sculpture. In fact, one of the features that distinguishes post-Interent art from the “Net Art” of the late ’90s and early 2000s is its ability to crossover between online and offline formats. While Net Art refers to art that uses the Internet as its medium and cannot be experienced any other way, post-Internet art makes the leap from the screen into brick-and-mortar galleries”.[2]

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Artists: Petra Cortright + Katja Novitskova.

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Artist: Artie Vierkant.

Image Objects are a series of works which exist somewhere between physical sculptures and altered documentation images. Each piece begins its life as a digital file, of which countless variations exist. These are then rendered as UV prints on dibond and precision-cut to the form of the piece to create photographic prints with the depth and presence of a sculpture.

Each time the pieces are documented officially (i.e., by the artist or by a gallery), the documentation photos are altered to create a new form which does not accurately represent the physical object, and generate new derivative works that build upon the initial objects. The viewer’s experience becomes split between the physical encounter in a gallery setting and the countless variations of the objects circulated in prints, publications, and on the Internet. The documentation becomes a separate work in itself, incorporating elements of collage, techniques commonly used in professional image retouching, aestheticized digital watermarks, and more.” [3]

Adamski O

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I did an Arduino workshop with Adam Gibney (aka Adamski O’Gibahney) last year, so decided to check out one of his solo shows. It was a very quick but enjoyable visit to the tiny Artbox gallery a few streets away. Its a sleek, minimal space, perfect for Adam’s monochrome pieces.

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‘Euclid, I miss you’ the title of his show is centred on the concepts of geometry, mathematics and certainty.

“But this map of what surrounds the present, like all maps, is only a surface; its features are but abstract signs and symbols of things that in themselves are concrete bits of sensible experience.”

William James, Some Problems of Philosophy, Harvard University Press. 1979

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“Symbolic descriptions of reality, even the axiomatic, have proven to be only temporary and tentative. The line, a breadthless length…”

Euclid, Definition 2

“…now protrudes into the platonic. The solid formal structures that held truth now exist precariously within the newfound multitudes of reality. The rigorous quest for certainty seems to only expand the terrain of uncertainty. Here and there, an arbitrary line connects points, which have no part, here.”

Euclid, Definition 1

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The show featured x3 audio boxes that an aerial sporadically extended from and which triggered a robotic vocal utterance. There was also nice use of what looked like self made lights, in front of linear prints that seemed to grow out of the wall itself, and then cascaded down onto the floor. A camera atop a screen filmed you as you approached and glitched your bottom half. Finally a mutated 3D printed coffee cup rested on a light table.

There was a sense of continuity between the four sets of pieces, all complimenting each other.

Note to Self:

  • Complete any 3D prints put on hold.

Dan Flavin – It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else

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Finding myself in Birmingham, I decided to check out a show by American artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996) at the Ikon gallery.

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The gallery is situated in Brindley Place, in the centre of what looks like a building boom. Birmingham city centre has been transformed in the last few years with word on the street that many of London’s financial institutions are relocating there.

So Ikon presents a major exhibition of fluorescent light works by Dan Flavin. Taking his statement “It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else” as a departure point, Ikon’s exhibition exemplifies Flavin’s emphasis on the importance of the context of artistic experience, capitalising on the variety of interiors that Ikon Gallery has to offer.

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One of the earliest works in the exhibition is alternate diagonals of March 2, 1964 (to Don Judd), made shortly after Flavin centred his entire artistic practice on the use of fluorescent light. The bright red and yellow are Judd-like, likewise the fluorescent lamp combinations of white, pink, red, yellow, blue and green in untitled (to Don Judd, colorist) 1–6 (1987). These standard colours are as beguiling as they are industrial and ordinary, together bathing the exhibition space in pale radiant light.

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Flavin dedicated many of his works to friends, family and colleagues. At the heart of Ikon’s exhibition is untitled (to Barnett Newman) one, two, three and four (all 1971), an installation that frames the corners of the room and alludes to the older artist’s celebrated series of four paintings, Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue. The work conveys both Newman’s disdain for the picturesque in art and Flavin’s interest in architectural environments.

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Even though a gallery attendant young enough to be my daughter telling me I couldn’t photograph the work rubbed me up the wrong way, a few coughs over camera clicks later, I enjoyed the subtle fluorescent pieces, which managed to be somehow convey warmth and a sterile coldness, all in the same breath.

Note to Self:

  • I have been to a few other shows recently. Mention them here.

Boolean Expressions: Contemporary Art and Mathematical Data

I am soon going to attend an exhibition called ‘Boolean Expressions: Contemporary Art and Mathematical Data’ at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork. This is to commemorate the legacy of George Boole, the self taught mathematician who originated Boolean logic, a lot of whose ideas are now seen to be years ahead of his time.

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There a piece called ‘Dunhuang’ by the  artist John Gerrard, an Irish artist based in Vienna, known for his sculptures which take the form of digital simulations displayed using Real-time computer graphics. He uses technology to remind us that we are living in an increasingly simulated reality, one that we have imagined into being and are continuously recalibrating. He regards realtime 3D as a medium that enables us to work with time in new ways, working with Virtual worlds which include time as one of their dimensions thus allowing time to become a sculptural component.

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His piece entitled “Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014” is a large-scale cinematic art installation that takes place in the heart of the Chinese desert. It overlays terrain, real bodies and sites using satellite data, intensive photographic documentation, 3D scanning and motion capture. It is “stunningly mounted, displayed in custom-made brass box frames that transform the frequently dissatisfying experience of viewing screen-based artworks into something akin to seeing an old master in in a gilt frame”. Christin Leach Hughes, Sunday Times. [1] and also addresses the issues of time and a strict set of rules dictating outcomes. As Christine Paul observes in her excellent book ‘Digital art ( 3rd edition )’, “This has strong connections to previous art movements, among them Dada, Fluxus and conceptual art…using formal instructions to create an artifice that resulted from an interplay of randomness and control”.[2]

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The piece ‘Dunhuang’ works on many levels. Denied access by the Chinese authorities Gerrard commissioned a commercial company to take a 10km square scan of the area from space, he then worked with a team of computer programmers to produce a hyper-real 3D virtual landscape based on the satellite photos. Into this world he places x 38 human characters who partake in a kind of knockout game as they move through the grid. The characters are virtual portraits of workers in a Chinese motherboard factory who he filmed. He later had these workers ‘played’ by real actors whose movements were motion-captured to produce three actions: walk, wait or sit.

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As the program runs, the characters actions are dictated by an algorithm, they must cross the grid using the shortest path. When two meet, the algorithm decides based on how far they have come, who will carry on or who will lose. The game ends when only one man or woman is left standing. Viewers follow the leader’s progress from three ‘camera’ angles on three screens as the game unfolds, with landscape, drone and satellite views. When a winner emerges, the whole exercise starts up again. So in a nutshell, a group of resigned souls walking though a bare landscape, endless actions unfolding in a virtual world based on a real place, populated by virtual characters based on real people played by actors!