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 16 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.
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Susan Hiller, EVERYTHING AT ONCE, Lisson Gallery and The Vinyl Factory at The Store Studios, London, 5 October – 10 December 2017
Susan Hiller’s vast audio-sculptural installation Channels, commissioned by Matt’s Gallery in 2013, is exhibiting as part of the group exhibition EVERYTHING AT ONCE, presented by Lisson Gallery with The Vinyl Factory. The wall of 100 television screens beaming out Channels are records and testimonies of those who have suffered near death experiences or claim to have glimpsed the hereafter. Lisson Gallery opened on Bell Street in 1967, a year after John Cage’s pronouncement on the changing conditions of contemporary existence. In celebration of this anniversary, the gallery is partnering with The Vinyl Factory to stage EVERYTHING AT ONCE, an ambitious group exhibition inspired by these words, which could very well apply to our current anxiety-ridden age of ceaseless communication. Through new and historical works by 24 of the artists currently shown by Lisson Gallery (out of more than 150 to have had solo shows over the past 50 years), this extensive presentation aims to collapse half a century of artistic endeavour under one roof, while telescoping its original aims into an unknowable future.
Jordan Baseman’s new video work DisObey is as a direct result of a Lincoln Voices residency at the University of Lincoln’s Law School and School of Social and Political Sciences. The focus of the research underpinning the work 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 behavior, crime and deviance, social inclusion/exclusion, participation and representation. Following the launch at the Close-Up Film Centre on the 12 September, the film will now be screened at the Frequency Festival of Digital Culture. This is a biennial festival hosted in the city of Lincoln, providing a platform to celebrate the pioneering spirit of digital innovation and culture through exhibition, creative collision and debate.
Roy Voss, The Way Things Are, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea, East Sussex, until 28 January 2017
Roy Voss’ new commission The Way Things Are is a sculpture that stretches the length of the De La Warr Pavilion’s ground floor gallery space. Constructed from machined and push-jointed wood, the sculpture’s form is drawn from the artist’s memories and from Victorian lithographs. It is a delicate and precise skeletal form that resembles an idea of a pier. Voss finds something simultaneously prosaic and profound about the British seaside pier: offering a familiar but inscrutable promise of enjoyment, there is a simple impulse to reach the end, with the melancholic yet reassuring certainty of returning. The Way Things Are is a co-commission between Maltings in Berwick and Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, where it will tour next year. Continuing in the First Floor Gallery also by Roy Voss is the exhibition All The World’s A Sunny Day and Wave, a work for the Pavilion’s flagpole.
Roy Voss, All The World’s A Sunny Day, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea, East Sussex, until 08 October 2017
Roy Voss’ All The World’s A Sunny Day 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.
Nathaniel Mellors is opening the solo exhibition Neanderthal Narratives at Rome’s MONITOR. The show will feature the video works The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview (2012), Neanderthal Container (2013) and a new single-channel video version of Mellor’s collaborative work with Erkka Nissinen The Aalto Natives, originally presented at Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
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.
Benedict Drew, BLOB, presented as part of I WANT MY IDEAL PASTE, KELDER, London, 30 September 2017, 3-6pm
Benedict Drew’s SLUDGE MANIFESTO will be screened at an afternoon of artists’ shorts and excerpts from creature features harbouring the slimy and the gooey, intercut with informal discussion and followed by a surprise screening of a blobby classic. The event titled BLOB is part of the group exhibition I WANT MY IDEAL PASTE, curated by Laura Dee Milnes. The project features Benedict Drew, Darren Banks, Steven Dickie, India Harvey and Dane Sutherland, and includes an informal conversation between curator Laura Dee Milnes and Dr Joe Graham (Falmouth University). Limited spaces available – booking advised: firstname.lastname@example.org
Benedict Drew, Emotion + the Tech(no)body, Unconscious Archives Festival, Austrian Cultural Forum London, until 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.
Leah Capaldi will be showing work as part of the group exhibition Commission and Commune during Art Licks Weekend. The project features Lucy Clout, Samantha Donnelly, Lucy Woodhouse and Holly Antrum, alongside Capaldi, all current resident artists of the Acme Fire Station. Additionally, curator Holly Antrum has extended the invitation to a small number of ex-residents as well as visiting artist’s commissioned works (William Raban, Frances Scott) to further evoke and disband ideas of self-led artist living. Capaldi will give an artist tour on Saturday 30 September, 3 – 5:30pm, for which you can book here.
Fiona Crisp, The Live Creature and Ethereal Things: Bringing Physics into the Human Experience, Arts Catalyst, London, 12 October 2017
Fiona Crisp is speaking at the panel discussion titled The Live Creature and Ethereal Things: Bringing Physics into the Human Experience. This panel discussion forms part of a research project Material Sight initiated by Crisp with Arts Catalyst. Fiona Crisp’s Leverhulme-funded research project employs non-documentary photography and film to bring science back within our world as experience by using still and moving imagery to place us in a bodily relation to the physical spaces and laboratories where fundamental science is performed. The panel addresses the question: if so much knowledge comes through scientific instruments and mathematics, how can we humans – biological sensing beings that the philosopher John Dewey refers to as the “live creative” – make sense of it within our own experience? In this discussion event, a panel of artists and physicists will consider physics as a practical, experienced reality, rather than an abstract set of facts or concepts. Additional speakers include Nahum Mantra, Tara Shears and Suchitra Sebastian; the discussion will be monitored by Nicola Triscott. Entry £5, please book here. The Material Sight project will culminate in an exhibition at the Nothern Gallery of Contemporary Art (NGCA) in February 2018.
Fiona Crisp, Aesthetics in Uncertain Ecologies: Contemporary Practices of Art and Media, Sluice Biennial 2017, Bohemia Place and Morning Lane, in Hackney Central, London, 01 October 2017
Fiona Crisp is taking part in a panel discussion Aesthetics in Uncertain Ecologies: Contemporary Practices of Art and Media at the Sluice Biennal 2017. The panel will additionally feature Susan Schuppli and Brett Zehner and is organised by Nicole Sansone, Curator and PhD at Goldsmiths CCS, Digital Culture Unit. This panel builds on a growing body of research that sees the aesthetics of ecology as primary to its operation in geopolitics, cultural studies, and visual culture. Not unlike the politics of representation that undergird the study of landscape art history, the new mode of landscape image making endows a substantial amount of power to all involved, from pixel to programmer to climate scientist and policy maker. For this reason, the classic ways that we understand landscape art and landscape art aesthetics must be expanded and renegotiated to incorporate new forms of the image and image-making. The panel will consider the ways in which creative digital practices (including, but not limited to, the arts) embody and perform ecological knowledge. The Sluice Biennial is a collaborative platform that merges the visions of artist/ curator-run and emerging galleries from London, with those of compatible art galleries and projects from around the world. It prioritises artists, curation and collaboration over strictly art-market interests by focusing on curatorial rigour, a DIY ethos and collaborative programming. This year the Sluice Biennial has strategically sited itself in Hackney Central to confront and examine the role of the arts in regeneration and how artists impact and contribute to society.
Willie Doherty is presenting work in a two-person exhibition with Los Angelos-based painter Raffi Kalenderianin in Zurich this November.
Willie Doherty, Willie Doherty, Mona Hatoum, Rita McBride, Alexander and Bonin, New York, 10 November – 21 December 2017
Willie Doherty will be showing work alongside Mona Hatoum and Rita McBride at Alexander and Bonin gallery in New York this winter.
Melanie Jackson, Unreliable Matriarchs, in Making Milk: The Past, Present and Future of Our Primary Food, published by Bloomsbury, 02 November 2017
Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie have co-written the chapter Unreliable Matriarchs in the forthcoming book Making Milk: The Past, Present and Future of Our Primary Food, published by Bloomsbury on 02 November 2017. This collection of articles brings together an exciting group of the world’s leading scholars from different disciplines to provide commentaries on multiple facets of the production, consumption, understanding and impact of milk on society. The book frames the emerging global discussion around philosophical and critical theoretical engagements with milk. In so doing, various chapters bring into consideration an awareness of animals, an aspect which has not yet been incorporated in these debates within these disciplines so far.
Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie will present their collaborative piece of writing Deeper in the Pyramid, which engages with the bio-economy through the webs of exploitation and collective fantasy that interconnect various life forms through milk and its technologies and representations. Jackson and Leslie will deliver a spoken version of a filmed performance lecture, commissioned by Primary, Nottingham for screening in 2018. There will an exhibition and publication of the same name at Grand Union and Banner Repeater in 2018. Funded by Arts Council England.
Susan Hiller, Legacies: JMW Turner and contemporary art practice, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, until 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, until 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).
Lindsay Seers is showing The Letter Painting at ASC Gallery as part of the Peer Sessions’ project Future Refrains. The Letter Paintings address schizophrenia as well as a broader way of working as related to a certain type of perception/consciousness. Seers writes: “I am interested in works that seem to show this unique form of perception that is not in itself an “artistic conceit”. The act of painting is driven in this case by a desire to depict a reality about experiences that are related to an hallucinatory real.” The works in the exhibition are a result of Seers’ engagement in a drawing exchange with several artists over the past two years. These works (which she has presented in exhibitions) are a letter to individuals whom she knows predominantly through posting drawings to them. “Our ‘corroboration’ is still in process and is not yet settled. (Versions of these works will go into their possession.)”, she writes. Future Refrains follows the tradition of direct artistic collaboration and is therefore less mired in the problematic entanglements of working in unequal partnerships, or for monetary exchange, and rather than being a solely formal experiment, exists as a means of rejecting the romantic myth of the solitary genius. Instead, by fostering co-authorship, Future Refrains creates models of bridge-building through discussion and exchange between peers. These germinating collaborative structures are significant in the current climate of instability, anxiety and precarity in offering up an image of friendship as a stable framework to achieve common goals. Lindsay Seers advances the term corroborate as a more positive, nuanced alternative to collaborate. Circumventing the problematic associations of labour in the term collaborate (to ‘co-labour’), Seers states that to corroborate suggests “strengthening and arriving at truths through co-operation”. Future refrains will showcase collaborative commissions by: Peer Sessions member Alicja Rogalska with Daniel Dressel, Peer Sessions member Anita Delaney with Simon Gerrard and Peer Sessions member James Ferris with Paula Linke, as well as feature new works by Adam Chodzko and Lindsay Seers who have contributed to recent Peer Sessions crit groups, along with Hayley Newman, as guest moderators.
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.
Graham Fagen is showing The Slave’s Lament, as part of the group exhibition We Have Met Before, featuring Joscelyn Gardner, Ingrid Pollard, and Leasho Johnson. This exhibition revisits the challenging subject of trans-atlantic slavery and its afterlives in the contemporary world, seen through the eyes of four contemporary artists. Each artist brings a distinctive perspective with work that was created in different locales, different media, and at different points in time. Graham Fagen’s video and sound installation, The Slave’s Lament, which was also shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale, is based on a 1792 song written by Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, in which an enslaved man in Virginia expresses his longing for his distant homeland of Senegal. In Fagen’s interpretation, the song is performed by the reggae singer Ghetto Priest, a Rastafarian. Fagen’s work also acknowledges Scottish involvement in slavery in the Americas, which may be well-known in the Caribbean, but is still part of the unacknowledged history of Scotland.
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. The exhibition is accompanied by a limited-edition book documenting the work of Fagen and Douglas Gordon, both responding to the representation and status of the famous Scottish Poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). More information about the book is available here.
Graham Fagen, Polygraphs, Gallery 4, Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow, 17 February – 20 May 2018
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.