Jo Bruton’s second show at Matt’s Gallery sees the artist expanding her practice as a painter into a series of printed wallpapers. Hand painted, digitally produced and then pasted to the walls of the gallery, the piece has been conceived to respond directly to the dimensions of the 3 x 3 x 3 m gallery space.
Run plays on the idea of repetition or routine as well as a command for immediate action. A first outing for this new body of work, the artist has developed elements of her work into a series of tessellating motifs which form a ground for a range of actions and interventions. Rich in references, Bruton’s work draws together biographical elements alongside research carried out at the V&A’s Wallpaper Archive and art historical nods to the work of Georgia O’Keefe and Nancy Spero.
The work remains reconfigurable – mobile painted wooden panels punctuate the space with signs that navigate an environment, moving beyond the frame to occupy the space of the gallery. Deserts, mountains, tumble weeds and flowers mix with performers holding associations to time and place, playing on artifice, repetition and scale. The artist negotiates problems of location and the stability of the subject.
Run is a continuation of Bruton’s exploration into the space of painting, extending notions of form and its context by evoking narratives through the process of making. Fragments of decoration create an environment to navigate where a female presence and the desire to act within and occupy that space are central to her work.
Alison Turnbull, If Mimicry Minded, Matt’s Gallery, 92 Webster Road, London, 21 – 29 April, Private View 20 April 6-9pm
Alison Turnbull’s personal interest in moths and butterflies provides a point of departure for her third exhibition at Matt’s Gallery.
If Mimicry Minded borrows its title from a short, scientific note by the writer and celebrated lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov (1899 – 1977). “I discovered in nature the non-utilitarian delights that I sought in art.” wrote Nabokov. “Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception.” Nabokov dealt with mimicry within a group of butterflies known as the ‘Blues’. However, it is the Crimson-patched Longwing and other Heliconiusbutterflies that have become iconic in the understanding of mimicry.
In 2017 Turnbull travelled to Chocó, Colombia at the invitation of Más Arte Más Acción to study butterflies in the Pacific rainforest, working alongside Dr Blanca Huertas, Senior Curator in Lepidoptera at the Natural History Museum, London.
From this visit Turnbull has developed a series of observational watercolours produced from butterfly specimens gathered on her trip. The Heliconius melpomene vulcanus exhibited here exercised particular fascination and these works mark a distinctive detour or byway within the artist’s practice as a painter.
The subject of mimicry resonates with Turnbull’s thinking about painting and the processes of mapping, transcription and conversion that are evident throughout her work. Turnbull translates images from ‘real’ or found sources onto the abstract surface of her carefully worked paintings. In a new, predominantly white painting, juxtaposed with the butterflies, Turnbull sets up a tension between the differences and repetitions of her layered motifs, emphasised in the mirroring she sets in play.
The works exhibited form part of an extended project. Later in the year Turnbull will publish Psyche or, The Butterfly, an expanded field guide and in June present a programme on butterflies for BBC Radio 4.
Matt’s Gallery thanks Ron Henocq Fine Art for their generous support.
Possessions_inc is a video and web project by Matt’s Gallery and Richard Grayson. Episode 22 is currently available to watch.
Over 2016-2018 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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Lindsay Seers, Every Thought There Ever Was, The MAC, Belfast, PV 3 May, exhibition continues 4 May – 29 July 2018
Every Thought There Ever Was is a major new touring exhibition by Lindsay Seers.
Incorporating industrial robotics in conjunction with a three-screen video projection, the work is shaped by philosophical ideas and scientific research concerned with the phenomenon of consciousness. Through digital animation, special effects, drawing and sound design, Every Thought There Ever Was explores the extraordinary brain functioning that occurs in the condition of schizophrenia. Two screens, supported by robot arms, move with the images, bringing agency to them as an active element in the work.
The work draws on an experimental treatment known as Avatar Therapy, in which those living with schizophrenia can speak to their persecutors in a digital world. Guided by first person accounts and a collaborative drawing exchange, Seers’ work has been shaped by conversations with scientific partners including Anil Seth at The Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science and Chris Frith, Emeritus and Professor of Neuropsychology, UCL to explore the current studies and thinking on the condition.
Pursuing her on-going fascination with how an individual’s biography embodies history, Seers takes Victorian surgeon James Miranda Barry as her narrator. Barry transcends time through a connection with the offspring she gave life to by performing a groundbreaking emergency Caesarian section operation. Barry’s future life sees her manifest as an Avatar with an ability to cure.
Every Thought There Ever Was is funded by Wellcome and is co-commissioned by Matt’s Gallery, London; The MAC, Belfast; Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea; Hospitalfield, Arbroath; and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.
The exhibition will premiere at The MAC, Belfast from May 3rd to July 29th 2018. Following this it will open at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, from September 8th to December 23rd 2018, in 2019 at Hospitalfield and in 2020 at John Hansard Gallery.
Lindsay Seers is presenting a new work as one of six commissions highlighting the progression towards equality through the stories of the women who have contributed to the spirit and history of Knole. Curated by Lucy Day and Eliza Gluckman, the project shines a light on historical women’s voices, marking 100 years since the Representation of the People Act that gave women the vote in the UK for the first time. The history of women’s rights is well illustrated at Knole, where Vita Sackville-West, the only child of the 3rd Baron Sackville, was prevented from inheriting the house because of her gender. The loss of Knole deeply affected Sackville-West, leading her to write that ‘Knole is denied to me forever, through a technical fault over which we have no control’. Seers’ work focuses on ‘the love letter’, the famous description of Virginia Woolf’s book Orlando dedicated to Vita Sackville West. Drawing in particular on the correspondence between Vita and Virginia it takes the form of a digital book with text, spoken word, music and film. Other commissioned artists are Lubaina Himid, CJ Mahony, Emily Speed, Alice May Williams and Melanie Wilson.
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. The artist has built a corrugated iron hut inside MONA, which 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.
Susan Hiller’s Social Facts is showing at OGR, an extraordinary new cultural centre in a former train repair facility in Turin, Italy. Curated by Barbara Casavecchia, the exhibition takes its title from an expression Hiller often uses to describe the focus of her practice. Hiller’s exhibition at OGR offers an immersive experience that centres around a new project – Illuminations (2018) – a 30-minute video work featuring the voices of individuals describing experiences of mysterious and unexplained luminous phenomena. Including her largest audio visual works to date, Channels (2013); her earlier renowned and genre defining video installation Psi Girls (1999); as well as aura portraits from the more recent series Homage to Marcel Duchamp (2017), the exhibition explores the boundary between ordinary and extraordinary, credible and incredible, the rational and irrational.
Roy Voss, All The World’s A Sunny Day and The Way Things Are, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, until 23 June 2018
Roy Voss is exhibiting The Way Things Are and All The World’s A Sunny Day in two simultaneous exhibitions at The Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool. Stretching through two of Grundy Art Gallery’s ground-floor gallery spaces, The WayThings Are is a sculpture, precisely and elegantly constructed in poplar wood that approximates to the form of a pier. Inspired by Victorian lithographs, contemporary architects’ drawings and the artist’s own recollections, The Way Things Are extends the artist’s interest in romantic longing; between desire and lived experience, between memory and fact. Voss finds something simultaneously prosaic and profound about the British seaside pier. If the coastline is a boundary, a marker for the edge of ordinary experience, then the pier forms a space beyond this. The Way Things Are (2017) is commissioned by De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill), Grundy Art Gallery (Blackpool) and Berwick Visual Arts (Berwick).
Forming a 360-degree horizon around the walls of another Grundy Art Gallery space, All the World’s a Sunny Day comprises a series of collages made from found postcards, where a single word has been cut from the back and reinserted into the image on the front. The meanings of these words conflate with the postcard’s image describing something of it and characterising an emotional state. Posted between the early 1960s and mid-1980s, the mass-produced postcards are now out of date and out of time. Sent both through a sense of duty, but also with love and a need to communicate and share, there is an intimacy in their brief, blue biro messages.
Willie Doherty’s solo exhibition Inquieta at Galeria Moises Perez De Albeniz feature a series of photographic works and a text-based video work Inquieta (2018). In August 1936 the poet, Federico García Lorca, among many others, was executed and secretly buried somewhere on the road that connects the towns of Víznar and Alfacar, near Granada. Taking this occurrence as a starting point Willie Doherty made a number of visits to these two small towns between 2016 and 2018. In Gallery 1 the artist shows a series of photographic works made along the road between Víznar and Alfacar. Excavation, 2016 was made at Peñón Colorado where an unsuccessful attempt to recover the remains of Lorca was undertaken in 2016. Fallen Moon, 2018 was shot in El Barranco de Víznar, a hilly ravine where many of the bodies of the victims of a brutal system of execution, operated from Víznar, were buried and are still to be recovered. In Gallery 2 the artist presents Inquieta, 2018, a text-based video with an original score by the composer Brian Irvine. The work consists of a sequence of words and lines of text that appear in white on a black screen. Inquieta attempts to give a presence to one of the many unacknowledged victims of the Spanish Civil War, whose bodies have never been recovered. The work eschews any imagery of the landscape or the human figure in favour of the simplicity of text. The projected words emerge from the blackness of the darkened gallery and momentarily hover on the screen before fading. The work creates a sense of loss, of the changing seasons and the passage of time. The text of Inquieta combined with the discordant score is a stark and emotional evocation of the tragedy of the many lives that were destroyed and of the ongoing pain inflicted by these unsolved crimes.
Melanie Jackson, Deeper in the Pyramid, Performance Lecture, Primary, Nottingham, 12 April 2018, 7pm; Screenings and Book Launch, Banner Repeater, London, from 26 May 2018
Melanie Jackson’s Deeper in the Pyramid is a project delivered across Grand Union in Birmingham, Primary in Nottingham and Banner Repeater in London. As an acknowledgement of milk’s predilection to be polymorphic, issuing as liquid, solid, powdered, vaporous, semisolid, and crystalline, Deeper in the Pyramid takes various forms, as exhibition, book, talk, and performance lecture. The forthcoming lecture at Primer in Nottingham is enhanced by performance elements to enable the various materialities of milk to be trialled, and brought into the open. What was captured as a photographic event in 20th century fast flash photography of milk drops is released into the open space of the auditorium. Time, light and the capacities of vision are part of the image. What is witnessed in the live space possesses none of the qualities of the coronet that stops time, borrows and holds light for ever. Emblematised here are different modes of addressing this material or stuff that is milk. Hands on, in time, in process, unpredictable, known through the nexus of bodies, touch, ambience set in parallel with the projection, the confection of light and liquid crystals, ever the same, glossily beautiful but also endlessly repeatable.
Deeper in the Pyramid will be extended outside the Primary building in the form of a billboard, presented as part of In Another Place, a collaboration between the Contemporary Visual Arts Network East Midlands and ten venues in the region. See inanotherplace.co.uk for more information.
The third element of the project at Banner Repeater, London, will launch on 26 May with a book launch and screenings.
Melanie Jackson’s Deeper in the Pyramid continues at Grand Union in Birmingham. The project features an expansive new body of work comprising of animation, sculpture, a filmed performance and a publication in a graphic novel format, written in collaboration with Esther Leslie. We are taken on a journey of lactic abstractions, through the webs of bio-invasion and collective fantasy that interconnect various life forms through milk, its technologies and representations. The ontologies of species and gender have always been shaped by our relations with this primal liquid, and ensuring a ready supply has driven research in genetics, fertility and robotics. It is now open for radical transformation as new bio-organisms emerge, and real science merges with the fantastic. Milk is polymorphic with an inclination for promiscuous collaboration – whether it be with bacteria, with cartoon avatars, with economics pornography, racial politics or genetic re-calibration. It is fundamental to all mammalian bodies, whilst also being one of the most technologised fluids on earth. Deeper in the Pyramid engages with the bio-economy and its representations, through the webs of care, exploitation and collective fantasy that interconnect life forms at every scale.
Fiona Crisp explores how we might encounter spaces where the frontiers of knowledge are being expanded. Material Sight is a new, large-scale commission that uses photography, moving image and sound to approach the material environments where experiments that challenge the limits of our imagination are carried out. For nearly two years Crips has worked with three world-leading research facilities for ‘fundamental science’: Boulby Underground Laboratory, sited in the UK’s deepest working mine, Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and Laboratori Nazionale del Gran Sasso, the world’s largest underground laboratory for particle physics, housed inside a mountain in central Italy. Across all of these sites, knowledge is pursued at scales and distances beyond our human sensing, from the macro scale of the multiverse to the micro scale of the sub-atomic world. In Material Sight, Crisp explores how we might counter this sensory remoteness, not through a documentary narrative but by being placed into a physical, tangible relation to the spaces and laboratories where the science is performed; to this end Crisp builds a landscape of image and sound, augmenting the gallery architecture with scaffolding walls that support a cycle of large-scale photographs and moving image works.
Mike Nelson’s Lionheart has been re-constructed especially for this exhibition providing a rare opportunity to see an early work by the British artist, whose installations usually only exist for the time period of the exhibition they were made for. Lionheart, 1997 consists of found materials painstakingly collected from specific locations by the artist and assembled to create a fictional drifter’s camp, complete with skins, traps, darts, trophies and beer cans. The work was purchased for the Gallery’s Permanent Collection in 2002 via the Contemporary Art Society Special Collection Scheme, an important seven-year collecting initiative (1998-2005), which enabled 15 regional museums to collect significant works by leading contemporary artists. Mike Nelson is known for his installations, which often take the form of extended labyrinths; immersive environments that involve the viewer.
Mike Nelson, General Rehearsal, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia, 26 April – 16 September 2018
Mike Nelson is exhibiting as part of the group project General Rehearsal. Organised over three floors at MMOMA’s historic Petrovka Street gallery, visitors will be met with Nelson’s work Again, More Things (a table ruin) (2014). Best known for creating powerful, immersive, large-scale installations, Nelson selected historic and contemporary figurative works from the V-A-C collection for his presentation, by artists including Pawel Althamer, Louise Bourgeois, Constantine Brâncusi, Alberto Giacometti, Sherrie Levine, Henry Moore and Willem de Kooning. Displayed on a reclaimed wooden floor as a mass of modelled figures, the sculptural installation, inspired by a Dieter Roth work, The Floor (Studio-floor from Mosfellsbaer, Iceland), (1973-1992), is what Nelson describes as a “levelling of sorts, questioning how we look at objects.” The piece also serves as an introductory model for how works are activated in the rest of the show. General Rehearsal is a content-rich, innovative presentation that combines works from three international art collections: V-A-C Foundation, KADIST and MMOMA. Designed to evolve and change like a living organism that adapts and responds to its environment, General Rehearsal adopts the structure of a theatrical play developing over three acts staged over a five-month period. In this framework, the project proposes considering artworks as actors in the play, having a potential agency similar to human beings. With the project V-A-C also introduces a more fluid, transparent method of working collectively and engaging all disciplines equally.
Mike Nelson, Indicators: Artists on Climate Change, Storm King Art Center, Cornwall, New York, 19 May – 11 November 2018
Mike Nelson’s Eighty Circles Through Canada (The Last Possessions Of An Orcadian Mountain Man) (2013) is being shown in the exhibition Indicators: Artists on Climate Change exploring the impacts of the changing climate. Both indoor and outdoor installations, including pieces newly created for the exhibition at Storm King, will illuminate the threats of a changing climate to our biological world and to humanity. Nelson will present a work inside the Museum Building entitled 80 Circles Through Canada: The Last Possessions of an Orcadian Mountain Man (2013). Informed by his friend and collaborator, the artist and mountaineer Erlend Williamson, the piece comprises a large set of driftwood shelves laden with Williamson’s last possessions before falling to his death in the Scottish Highlands. The reverse of the structure acts as a screen on which to project 80 transparencies of discarded stone fire circles, found and documented between Banff and Vancouver in 2012-13. The exhibition at Storm King marks the first time this work will be shown in the United States. The organizers of the exhibition are Nora Lawrence, Curator; David Collens, Director and Chief Curator; and Sarah Diver, Curatorial Assistant, who collaborated closely with artists to develop their ideas and proposed projects for the exhibition. Participating artists include: David Brooks, Dear Climate, Mark Dion, Ellie Ga, Justin Brice Guariglia, Allison Janae Hamilton, Jenny Kendler, Maya Lin, Mary Mattingly, Mike Nelson, Steve Rowell, Gabriela Salazar, Tavares Strachan, Meg Webster, and Hara Woltz.
Jordan Baseman, Talking Art 2, Ridinghouse and Art Monthly, and On Violence, MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE
Jordan Baseman has published contributions in two publications. Talking Art 2 comprises the best of Art Monthly’s interviews with some 65 artists, ranging from Marina Abramović to Artur Żmijewski, which together provide an entertaining and alternative history of art. Since it was founded in 1976 the magazine has consistently published interviews with leading contemporary artists. The collection brought together here offers unique insights into the thought processes and working practices of artists, as well as evolution of the form of the interview.
On Violence, co-edited by Rebecca Jagoe and Sharon Kivland, features a short story by Baseman. The publication considers violence in language and violence as language. The violence of language stratifies voices into those that matter and those that do not, using ideas of appropriate form and structure as its weaponry. It claims propriety and politeness are the correct mode of address, when urgency and anger are what is needed. Where languages intersect, hierarchies of language become means for domination and colonisation, for othering, suppression, negation, and obliteration. On Violence includes contributions by Travis Alabanza, Katherine Angel, Skye Arundhati-Thomas, Mieke Bal, Janani Balasubramanian, Elena Bajo, Jordan Baseman, Emma Bolland, Pavel Büchler, Paul Buck,Kirsten Cooke, Jih-Fie Cheng, John Cunningham, Andy Fisher, Caspar Heinemann, Jakob Kolding, Candice Lin, Rudy Loewe, Nick Mwaluko, Vanessa Place, Katharina Poos, Tai Shani, Linda Stupart, Benjamin Swaim, Jonathan Trayner, Jala Wahid, Isobel Wohl, Sarah Wood.
Nathaniel Mellors present a major new solo exhibition at the New Museum, New York, for which he has created a new environment including video projection and animatronic sculpture. Progressive Rocks is curated by Margot Norton, Curator, and is on view in the New Museum’s recently inaugurated South Galleries, a space designated for premiering new productions at the Museum. The South Galleries preserve the character of the building’s loft spaces, where many artists historically worked and exhibited. Conflating narrative tropes and methods from television sitcoms, theatre, science fiction, mythology, and anthropology, Mellors writes the scripts for each of his projects, which he also directs, edits, and produces. His raucous films feature a book-eating creature named “The Object” who literally digests a family’s library in Ourhouse (2010–ongoing); a Neanderthal in perpetual free-fall over the San Joaquin Valley in Neanderthal Container, (2014); and two messianic beings, in the form of a cardboard box and a giant egg, who attempt to make sense of a culture that they created millions of years prior in The Aalto Natives (2017, in collaboration with Erkka Nissinen, originally conceived for the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale).
Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, The Aalto Natives, KIASMA, Helsinki, Finland, until 9 September 2018
The Aalto Natives showcases artist duo Erkka Nissinen and Nathaniel Mellors who represented Finland at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The work is a humorous yet critical examination of Finnish identity that involves creativity, nerdy humour and a cast of national celebrities from prehistoric times to the age of robotics. This exhibition features the installation from Venice & Cobra Museum as well as 4 rooms of new animatronic installation by Mellors-Nissinen.
Nathaniel Mellors’ works Ourhouse Episode -1: Time and The Vomiter are featured at the NVG Triennial. Featuring the work of over 100 artists and designers from 32 countries, the NGV Triennial surveys the world of art and design, across cultures, scales, geographies and perspectives. A free exhibition, the NGV Triennial is a celebration of contemporary art and design practice that traverses all four levels of NGV International, as well as offering a rich array of programs.
Michael Curran and George McFall perform PSALMS of Love and Hate by The Sacred & Profane Love Machine at Forbidden City Antwerp, as part of the event The Dark Fluid. AD Crawforth will perform with SAPLM (David Crawforth of Beaconsfield Arts) and to coincide with the event Curran and Crawforth have made a limited edition print celebrating this manifestation of The Dark Fluid.
Benedict Drew in collaboration with Nicholas Brooks are exhibiting their work Sump (2016) at Turner Contemporary. Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ is a major exhibition exploring the significance of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land through the visual arts. Presenting over 60 artists, and almost 100 objects, the exhibition includes works by Fiona Banner, Cecil Collins, Tacita Dean, Elisabeth Frink, Patrick Heron, Edward Hopper, Barbara Kruger, Helen Marten, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Paula Rego, John Smith and JMW Turner. The exhibition explores how contemporary and historical art can enable us to reflect on the poem’s shifting flow of diverse voices, references, characters and places. The exhibition is the culmination of a three year project designed to develop a pioneering approach to curating. Local residents, coming together as the Waste land Research Group, have developed the entire exhibition. Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ is consequently the result of many months the group have spent discussing personal connections between art, poetry and life.
David Austen, the stars above the ocean the ocean beneath the stars, Totah, New York, until 22 April 2018
David Austen is presenting a solo show at Totah, New York. The exhibition features selections from Austen’s career-long engagement with painting and watercolors along with two films. This will be the London-based artist’s first New York solo exhibition, offering a view into to a fertile imagination that transitions effortlessly between the formal demands of different media. Austen’s works have a winsome quality about them that contrasts with the stark severity of their technical execution. Often presenting unsettling themes—such as a film about a smoking disconsolate moon, or watercolors of lonely, misshapen figures engaged in ritualistic acts—he confronts viewers with a world where there is no authentic resolution between the demands of the social world and the exigency of personal desire.
Alison Turnbull is exhibiting four paintings and six drawings in the group show In the Future, curated by Rosalind Davis. In this exhibition 20 artists seek to track and to trace, creating repositories of knowledge that look both forward and back, that address technology, organizational methods and information systems. Some choose to look at how we observe space, through sci-fi technologies or envision otherworldly species. Alison’s work in the show addresses the proposition “In the future people will live in space…” – her paintings are informed by star charts, celestial space and natural phenomena. Drawings are made on ‘various types of ruled and gridded printed papers, which derive from different cities throughout the world… exercise books ledgers, tables, and diary pages. On each she draws a repetitive pattern involving colours and forms that take their cue from details in the found sheet itself, in a modest but powerful gesture of give and take.’
Graham Fagen, We Suffer To Remain, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, The Bahamas, until 29 July 2018
Graham Fagen’s The Slave’s Lament is being exhibited in tandem with visual responses by Bahamian artists Sonia Farmer, Anina Major and John Beadle in We Suffer to Remain at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. This is a project in collaboration with the British Council, whose premise focuses on the fact that artists in postcolonial spaces have strong and embryonic reactions that can influence and build on the advancement and celebration of de-colonial art practices.
Graham Fagen, Another Country: Aspects of Scottish Emigration to the United States, Saint John’s Art Center, Minnesota, until 3 June 2018
Graham Fagen’s Plans & Records and Am I Not A Man and A Brother are part of the group exhibition Another Country, which brings together twelve artists from distinct, ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds, all born or currently living in Scotland. It assesses the historical and, at times negative, impact of Scottish colonialism on the United States, while at the same time tackling issues with contemporary migration, a complex subject with rapidly growing relevance in the current political climate. The work presented is personal as most of the artists are migrants themselves. Referencing the title of James Baldwin’s 1962 novel of the same name, the exhibition highlights that for each individual living in the same city, America can become ‘another country’, depending on one’s ethnicity, status and situation. Featured artists include Irineu Destourelles, Graham Fagen, Dawn Gavin, Andrew Gilbert, Euan Gray, Richard Guzman, Andrew Hairstans, Dana Hargrove, Birthe Jorgensen, Katherine Ka Yi Liu, Elaine Rutherford and Alberta Whittle.
Graham Fagen’s video and sound installation The Slave’s Lament is touring to Doris McCarthy Gallery in Toronto. The work was originally shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale and 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 exhibiting work as part of the group exhibition Polygraphs at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. This is a group show centred around Berlin based filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl’s work Abstract (2012), through which Steyerl questions our connectivity to the arms trade, global economics and a seemingly distant battlefield. Artists are often witness to a changing global environment and their role within that culture is to document, pose questions and create new layers of meaning that audiences can engage with and begin to question the mythic historical narratives that we are presented with. Other works from Glasgow Museums’ collection reveal how artists create alternative discourses to question dominant narratives in identity, politics and history. The works in Polygraphs look at the testimonial research and object evidence which has informed our historical identity and re-present this to address alternative questions about our relationships to the slave trade, colonialism, feminism and sectarianism.
Polygraphs includes some of the most compelling artists working today, seminal figures in 20th century Scottish art and younger artists whose work entered a UK collection for the first time. The exhibition, by creating a further fictitious layer through the grouping of works by these artists, poses questions about museums’ relationship to the histories, identities and politics that institutions collect and how the re-display of older works alongside more recent pieces reactivates truths and fictions still relevant today. Artists include: Muirhead Bone, Gerard Byrne, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Graham Fagen, Barbara Kruger, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Beth Forde, Ian Hamilton Finlay and kennardphillips.
Timothy Dixon, Gallery Manager at Matt’s Gallery, a writer and researcher, has written a review of two recently published books, Futures & Fictions published by Repeater Books and Fiction as Method published by Sternberg Press, for April’s issue of Art Monthly. Both tackle the subject of fiction within contemporary art, politics and the humanities. Make sure to pick up a copy of the magazine!