Sorrow and Mirth, Ragnar Kjartansson at Barbican London

Ragnar Kjartansson Sculpture

Ragnar Kjartansson, Exhibition installation view, Barbican Art Gallery. 14 July – 4 September 2016. © Tristan Fewings/ Getty Images. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine New York and i8 gallery Reykjavik

The Visitors (2012) is a nine-screen multi-channel video installation by Ragnar Kjartansson, filmed across multiple rooms in a two-hundred year old villa on the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York. Featuring the artist himself playing acoustic guitar and singing in a bathtub, alongside a cast of musicians from Iceland’s tight-knit music scene, the collective performs a haunting piece of what Kjartansson calls “feminine nihilistic gospel.” The music slowly dips and wanes, equal parts evocative cacophony and barely audible whisper.  In 2015, the work was exhibited at Brewer Street Car Park, a space curated by The Vinyl Factory in London’s Soho district, and was critically acclaimed as one of the year’s exhibition highlights. Continue reading

Kirill Savchenkov’s Museum of Skateboarding

Kirill Savchenkov Sculpture

Kirill Savchenkov, Museum of Skateboarding, Video Still

Kirill Savchenkov is a Russian multi-disciplinary artist, currently based in Moscow. His project Museum of Skateboarding was initially completed in 2015 and presented as part of “Expanding Space. Artistic Practice in the Urban Environment” at GES-2, V-A-C Foundation in Moscow. Recently Savchenkov’s project was newly commissioned as part of Calvert 22’s ambitious four-part series Power and Architecture, which ran from 12 June – 09 October this year. Continue reading

‘La trahison des objets’

Barbie Sculpture

Barbie’s evolution style (Collectors edition) © Mattel Inc. La storia di Barbie, qui in uno scatto per la linea Collectors, dal modello Teen Age Fashion Model Barbie Doll (1959) fino alla Hard Rock Cafe #2 Barbie. (2004)

I was recently asked to write about an exhibition here in London entitled ‘The Science of Imaginary Solutions’ at a gallery called Breese Little.[1] Central to the work on show was the way that object-led narratives are malleable, prone to the changing modes of thinking across multiple disciplines from science to philosophy, archelogy to sociology and so on. We recognise the power of objects to act as both placeholders and objects in themselves, and the myriad ways in which we can ‘read’ them and extrapolate upon different ideas and conceptions of the world. Continue reading

Mona Hatoum – Tate Modern

Mona Hatoum Sculpture

Over My Dead Body, 1988. Inkjet on paper. 204 x 304. © Courtesy of the artist.

I first encountered Mona Hatoum’s work in Berlin in 2010 when she was awarded the Käthe Kollwitz Prize by the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts). Her large sculptural works with their mix of both delicate and industrial materials was intriguing, and the underlying tension which is often so central to her practice fascinated me. Two years later I was fortunate enough to see her survey “You Are Still Here” at Arter – Space for Art in Istanbul. [1] Here Hatoum’s dense and poetically loaded works were an engaging and perhaps pointed contrast to the largely commercial surroundings on Istiklal Caddesi, the pedestrian avenue visited by as many as three million people during weekends in the popular Turkish city. Continue reading

Interview with Sarah Johanna Theurer

Sarah Johanna Theurer Sculpture

Installation view. Courtesy Hugo Estrela / Vesselroom Project

Sarah Johanna Theurer is an emerging curator, currently attached to Vesselroom Project in Berlin. A researcher in ephemeral arts and techno-social techniques and theories of the twenty-first century, she studied cultural studies and media archaeology at University of Arts Berlin before working with Transmediale in 2015.  At present, she is part of the communications department for 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, and in this wide ranging interview discusses some of the intricacies of working in the German capital as well as her first independent exhibition ‘f i n e,’ which ran from April 28 – May 8, 2016. Continue reading

Emotional Supply Chains

Emotional Supply Chains Sculpture

Frances Star, from the @therealstarkiller series, 2014-ongoing, installation view Emotional Supply Chains at Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2016. Photo: David Bebber

On the face of it, Emotional Supply Chains seems like a reasonably timely project; a group show of work that addresses the way identity is constructed in the digital age, going back as far as the turn of the new millennium and working up until the present day. The title of the exhibition comes from the idea that the self is “fabricated via a supply chain of objects, ideas and experiences,” according to the exhibition text, and seeks to antagonise the tension between the oft touted freedom of digital space, with its alleged multiplicity and fluidity, and the inescapably tangible and more specific realities we face in real life. Continue reading

Julian Rosefeldt, Manifesto at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin

Julian Rosefeldt Sculpture

Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto, 2014/2015. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

I first encountered Julian Rosefeldt’s work in 2010 when he won the Vattenfall Contemporary Prize, resulting in the exhibition ‘Living in Oblivion’ at Berlinische Gallery. His video and photographic work demonstrated what could best be described as a cinematic eye; his film installation revealing a keen sense of narrative and the blurring of fiction and reality. The speculative element of his work, particularly evident in The Shift (2008) suggested how Rosefeldt’s sense of place could be used to frame broadly introspective expressions of the human condition. Continue reading