Marianna Simnett, Worst Gift, Matt’s Gallery, private view 03 September 3 – 6pm, exhibition runs 06 September – 22 October 2017, Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 6pm
Matt’s Gallery is pleased to present Worst Gift, a new film installation by Marianna Simnett. Comprising video, liquid, light and sound, Worst Gift continues Simnett’s ongoing exploration of female subjectivity and bodily integrity as they relate to the power dynamics of the medical profession.
Worst Gift is set in an alternate world in which a voice surgeon (played by real-life surgeon and singer Dr Declan Costello) injects prepubescent boys with a substance to lower their voices. Shot in a Botox factory and theatrical surgery, the film follows a female protagonist (played by the artist) as she ventures on a mission to obtain the substance refused to her by the surgeon.
Soundtracked by Marianna Simnett, Lucinda Chua and Leo Chadburn, Worst Gift combines elements of fairy tales and musicals to create an unsettling sound world, at once invitingly familiar and acutely unnerving. Punctuated by worm-curses, love songs, and dream visions, Worst Gift charts a hallucinatory journey of transformation.
Needles are a central motif in Worst Gift. These ambiguous objects are desired and feared in equal measure; they evoke the violence of penetration and the possibility of healing, mosquito stings and surgeons’ cures. Worst Gift extends the needle motif into the physical space of the gallery. Arranged on the ceiling, hundreds of needles release drops of illuminated fluids in rhythmic counterpoint to the narrative unfolding on screen.
Worst Gift is a sequel to Simnett’s previous video work, The Needle and the Larynx (2016). In the earlier film, a surgeon injects the artist’s vocal cords with Botox. The physical changes the procedure brings (Simnett’s voice lowered in pitch as a result of the injection) triggers an exploration of infection, gender, perversion, desire, and illness. In Worst Gift, these themes are heightened and intensified. Simnett confronts the viewer with a fantastically strange yet viscerally affecting world.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a new whitebook, free to visitors and featuring a text by Charlie Fox.
Possessions_inc is a video and web project by Matt’s Gallery and Richard Grayson. Episode 14 is currently available to watch.
Over 2016 and 2017 Matt’s Gallery will be posting monthly instalments of the video project Possessions_inc. Part series, part blog, part essay, part talking head, Possessions_inc. is an expanding exploration of: ideas of value, ways we invest in objects, the Bilderberg owl, animatronics, the mystery of Rennes Le Chateau, codes, fakes, oligarchs, the missing head of Philip K Dick, treasure hunting, M.R. James, the V.I.P. Lounge, drug smuggling, computer animation, animism, Pygmalion and the insurance industry.
To subscribe please sign up to the Matt’s Gallery mailing list
To watch the episodes click here
Richard Grayson, HYPERactive, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Braddon, Australia, until 02 September 2017
Richard Grayson’s Possessions_inc. Episodes 1 – 13 is being shown in the group exhibition HYPERactive, curated by David Broker. The show explores the problematic space between reality and hyperreality morphed into a zone of hyperactivity where the audience must navigate various courses of earnest trickery, contradiction and illusion. Exhibiting artists alongside Grayson include Bianca Beetson, Claudia Chaseling, Jay Kochel, Catherine Laudenbach, Rebecca Selleck and Jay Younger.
Jordan Baseman’s new film DisObey (2017) will be screened at the Close Up Cinema in London. DisObey is made as a direct result of a Leverhulme Trust and Arts Council England funded residency at University of Lincoln School of Law and College of Social Science, in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. DisObey is an open and experimental portrait of ideas. The focus of this research attempts to expand (and contract) definitions and interpretations of The Law. DisObey explores thinking around human rights, politics, activism, terrorism, youth crime and prevention, anti-social behaviour, crime and deviance, social inclusion/exclusion, participation and representation, etc.
Jordan Baseman has been awarded a residency with Cove Park, located on 50 acres of unspoilt hillside overlooking Loch Long on Scotland’s west coast. He will be in residence mid-August to mid-September. Founded in 1999, Cove Park’s residency programme actively responds to the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in all the art forms, whether performing or visual arts, crafts, literature or music. Their interdisciplinary programmes, for both individuals and collaborating groups, offer time, space and freedom to make new work and to find new ways of working.
Jordan Baseman’s film Veil (2016) is being screened as part of the School of the Damned programme at SUPERNORMAL, an experimental festival of arts and music, expanding upon new paradigms of what a festival can be. Independent and uncompromising, it champions multi-faceted, exploratory art and music from the underground, margins and fringes to impart inspiring and engaging encounters beyond the everyday and the expected. With a diverse and intimate audience of 1500, Supernormal crystallises new projects, commissions, residencies, collaborations and participatory activities in response to the context and environment of Braziers Park in Oxfordshire to encapsulate its experimental vision and dissolve artistic boundaries. The networks the festival forges and the spirit it imbues work to bring challenging and innovative art and music to an intrepid and adventurous audience. In what has become known as a ‘temporary autonomous zone’ Supernormal has become the leading non-urban experimental festival in the UK, one that is unafraid of taking risks in a drive to find new ways of working as an artist and with each other.
Susan Hiller, Legacies: JMW Turner and contemporary art practice, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, 21 September 2017 – 14 January 2018
Susan Hiller is featured in an exhibition celebrating the legacy of Joseph Mallord William Turner, considering his impact through the lens of contemporary art and highlighting the ongoing relevance of this work for artists practicing today. The show will present a selection of paintings, sketchbooks, diagrams and works on paper from the Turner Bequest, alongside existing work by contemporary artists who have made work after Turner or evoke typically Turnerian subjects in their work. Dorothy Cross and Jonathan Wright have been specially commissioned by The New Art Gallery Walsall to produce a new work each in response to Turner’s art. Legacies is presented as part of a three-year partnership with Tate involving major loans from the Tate collection to exhibitions at The New Art Gallery Walsall.
Rose Finn-Kelcey, Rose Finn-Kelcey: Life, Belief and Beyond, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, until 15 October 2017
Modern Art Oxford presents Life, Belief and Beyond, the first posthumous exhibition of works by the highly acclaimed and influential artist Rose Finn-Kelcey (1945–2014). Life, Belief and Beyond focuses on Finn-Kelcey’s explorations of power, performance, political commentary, and perceptions of the self, belief and spirituality. The exhibition presents works from the early 1970s to 2014, including Divided Self (Speaker’s Corner), 1974; The Restless Image: a discrepancy between the seen position and the felt position, 1975; Glory, 1983; Bureau de Change, 1987; and It Pays to Pray, 1999. These examples of Finn-Kelcey’s diverse and exacting practice are presented alongside photographs, collage, performance documentation, sketches in progress and preparatory material – never before exhibited. Avant-garde in her ideas both in art and politics, Finn-Kelcey’s endlessly inventive practice demonstrates the artist’s interest in creating socio-political statements with a visually arresting quality, often object-based, frequently combining her creative investigations with contemporary technologies. Life, Belief and Beyond is a celebration of Finn-Kelcey’s work and pays tribute to her extraordinary practice and influence.
Imogen Stidworthy, This is a Voice, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Sydney, Australia, 11 August 2017 – 28 January 2018
Imogen Stidworthy is exhibiting Castrato (2016-19) and ALEX (2003) as part of This is a Voice, an exhibition exploring the human voice and contemplating the power of voice before and beyond words. Blending performance, video, visuals and sound, the show presents works by artists and vocalists, punctuated by paintings, manuscripts, medical illustrations and ethnographic objects. The press release invites one to “experience the human voice, how it locates us socially, geographically and psychologically, and learn how the voice is utterly flexible and can be altered with treatment and training.” This is a Voice is a Wellcome Collection exhibition produced in collaboration with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS).
Benedict Drew, Emotion + the Tech(no)body, Unconscious Archives Festival, Austrian Cultural Forum London, 20 September – 17 November 2017
Benedict Drew presents Heads May Roll ( radio edit) at a group show titled Emotion + the Tech(no)body. The video work was originally commissioned and shown at Matt’s Gallery in 2014 as part of a large-scale installation. The exhibition considers our cultural and emotional attachment to data and the relationship of our bodies to technology, through the physical resonance of memory and the evolution of both the archive and machine as an ephemeral site for self-imaging and self-construction. The show includes work by Austrian and international artists working across sound art, experimental film, software programming, laboratory culture, sculpture, ephemeral art, instrument building, and post internet art. By repurposing technology and imbibing it with error, narrative and place, the artists bring new media art into question as an emotional and responsive space, and as a new resource for collective experience. Featured practitioners include Audrey Samson, Christine Schörkhuber, Compositional Constructs, Conny Zenk, Davide Bevilacqua & Veronika Krenn, Graham Dunning, Heptic Somatic, Narrativize, Nikolaus Gansterer & Khadjia von Zinnenburg Carroll.
Benedict Drew’s solo exhibition is at the Whitechapel Gallery, accompanied by the release of his new record Crawling Through Tory Slime. Co-commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery and Art Night 2017, The Trickle-Down Syndrome is comprised of five connected yet distinct rooms drawing on wide-ranging references, from the stage sets of classic Hollywood cinematographer Busby Berkeley to the Surrealist worlds of artist Max Ernst. Drew invites viewers through a dizzying array of kaleidoscopic projections, vividly coloured video screens, experimental synthesizer compositions, hand-drawn landscapes, large-scale banners, human-shaped sculptures, a tiered stage, painted canvas tambourines and an accompanying audio narrative all coming together to take visitors on an emotional and sensory journey. Drew’s new LP was conceived over the same period as his Whitechapel exhibition and is released by Mana Records. Further details and excerpts can be found here.
Lindsay Seers’ Suffering continues the artists fascination with storytelling and the work of memory. Seers asks us to pause, to take a moment, and contemplate the private creative life of Tasmanian artist Leo Kelly. Seers has built a corrugated iron hut inside Mona. The hut resembles a rundown church (a ‘tin tabernacle’, says the artist) but is, in fact, made in the style of Kelly’s unusual self-built house in Queenstown, a small town in Tasmania’s own wild west. Seers met Kelly, a once-devout Catholic who experienced divine visions, in 2011 when she was travelling in Tasmania. Kelly invited Seers to his home (which features a small chapel and observatory) and revealed his extraordinary output as a painter, as well as his extensive collection of found objects. Kelly died a few years later, drawing Seers back to Tasmania to tell the story of Kelly and his art—‘to give an image of this man and his concerns’, she says, and to show us ‘the extent of his beliefs, his sincerity, his conviction’. Suffering was commissioned by and presented at The Unconformity in Queenstown, 2016.
Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, The Aalto Natives, Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Venice, until 26 November 2017
Nathaniel Mellors in collaboration with Erkka Nissinen is presenting The Aalto Natives at the Finnish Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. The artists share an interest in narrative fiction, and employ an irreverent and often transgressive form of satire to critique power structures, morality and the status quo. The Aalto Natives brings together Nissinen’s intuitive, do-it-yourself attitude to digital animation and his penchant for naïve musicality, with Mellors’ writing-based approach to filmmaking, and integration of sculpture.“The Aalto Natives explores themes such as the invention of the nation state and the origins of culture by way of absurdist satire. Dressing its intellectual ambitions in deceivingly comical gear, the work addresses the complex challenges our globalized world faces today, like neoconservative nationalism, intolerance, and class polarization,” says curator Xander Karskens. The narrative multimedia installation, that offers the viewer a dynamic, immersive theatrical experience, has been conceived for the architectural and ideological context of the Finnish Pavilion, designed by architect Alvar Aalto in 1956. Conflating ideas and tropes from archaeology, anthropology and science fiction, the work re-imagines Finnish society through the eyes of two messianic outsider figures, who offer a cosmic-comic perspective on Finnish creation mythology, contemporary Finnish society, and its possible futures.
Roy Voss is presenting an exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex. The show comprises over a hundred collages made by cutting a single word from the back of a found postcard and reinserting it into the image of the front. Each word is chosen to describe something about the scene, forming a short, open narrative. This exhibition originated and was first shown at Matt’s Gallery in March 2015.
Graham Fagen is showing work as part of Glasstress, which brings together 33 leading contemporary artists from Europe, the United States, the Middle East and China in an ambitious exhibition exploring the endless creative possibilities of glass. Curated by Dmitry Ozerkov (Director of the Hermitage 20/21 Project for Contemporary Art at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), Herwig Kempinger (President of Secession, Association of Visual Artists, Vienna) and Adriano Berengo (President of Fondazione Berengo and founder of Glasstress, Venice), the 2017 edition of Glasstress presents an impressive line-up of artists including Ai Weiwei, Jan Fabre, Abdulnasser Gharem, Alicja Kwade, Paul McCarthy, Laure Prouvost, Ugo Rondinone, Thomas Schütte and Sarah Sze. With little or no prior experience working with glass, these artists have embraced the challenge of creating extraordinary works in this very delicate medium in collaboration with Muranese artisans. The remarkable output of this unusual encounter defies the stereotypes associated with this ancient craft, ultimately pushing the boundaries of both contemporary art and glass.
Graham Fagen’s The Slave’s Lament is on show at the National Galleries Scotland. Replete with a moving score written by Sally Beamish, performed by the Scottish Ensemble and Reggae singer Ghetto Priest, and produced by legendary On-U-Sound founder Adrian Sherwood, Graham Fagen creates a fascinating soundclash, where Burn’s poetry finds a haunting bedfellow in Jamaican reggae music – and finds much common ground. This evocative video installation was originally curated by Hospitalfield, Arbroath and exhibited at Scotland + Venice 2015, when Graham Fagen represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale.
Graham Fagen is exhibiting work as part of the group exhibition Polygraphs at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, Gallery 4. Polygraphs is a group show with works from Glasgow Museums’ collection revealing how artists create alternative, and sometimes fictitious, discourses to question dominant narratives in identity, politics and history. The works in the exhibition look at the testimonial research and object evidence which has informed our historical identity and re-present this to review our relationships to the slave trade, colonialism, feminism and sectarianism.
Willie Doherty’s new film work titled No Return is featured in the group exhibition so it is at Pittsburgh’s The Mattress Museum. The exhibition includes artists from Northern Ireland and is curated by accomplished performance artist, educator and researcher John Carson. “I selected these artists because I have admired for a long time, the strength, depth and integrity of their work,” John Carson said. “They have all found ways of making powerful and uncompromising artistic statements in challenging circumstances.” Other artists are Ursula Burke, Rita Duffy, John Kindness, Locky Morris, Philip Napier, and Paul Seawright.
Melanie Jackson, Flurry, online essay commission, Museum of English Rural Life, 28 March 2017 – ongoing
Melanie Jackson has produced an online essay titled Flurry, commissioned and hosted by the Museum of English Rural Life.