Gili Tal

Sidsel Meineche Hansen @ Gasworks reviewed

4 April 2016

We see 3D model protagonist EVA v3.0 with a phallic sex toy. She penetrates a large clay-like form, seen in different positions from different viewpoints displaying the mechanics of sexual intercourse. She cuts the abstract form with a scalpel, seemingly to sculpt and mould it to reflect and fulfill her desires. This animation plays out on a hanging monitor suspended by a structure that evokes a hybrid of exhibition display and BDSM dungeon, as part of Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s Second Sex War, running at London’s Gasworks from March 17 to May 29. A soundtrack by Nkisi called Exotica plays throughout, with samples of breathing that break into high-powered beats. Multiple perspectives span the animations and gaming PCs distributed across the gallery, combining the point-of-view of EVA v3.0 with poses for constructing digital animation and of what the Second Sex War press release calls “post-human porn production.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.

Featuring new commissions and collaborations with the aforementioned producer, as well as James B Stringer, Nikola Dechev, and Kepla, the show explores the politics of female and non-binary sexuality and pleasure within the processes of artistic production and how desire and power shape markets, representations and the use of new visual technologies. The title refers to Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal 1949 work The Second Sex, a critical feminist text arguing that women have historically been treated as secondary to men. The show expands this into the continuing battle against the objectification and commodification of embodied experience that finds new forms through digital technologies.

Hansen uses body fluids in the work ‘Methylene Blue Diluted by Female Ejaculation’ (2015) combined with a drawing style that is non-anatomical or less naturalistic. The artist describes it as “low-tech manual craft”, a more direct expression of bodily experience, in comparison to the outsourced skilled digital labour of the other works. This includes laser cut drawings ‘iSlave (non-dualistic)’ (2016) as an assertion of submissive and slave positions in BDSM as well as relating to the Apple computer brand, and ‘No Baby’ (2015) as sexual pleasure liberated from the functionality of procreation. ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’ (2015) is a CGI animation made with James B Stringer, a “feminist ‘cum shot’ video” according to the press release, featuring a grinding and pulsing soundtrack by Kepla.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist + Gasworks, London.

EVA v3.0 was created by designer Nikola Dechev as a stock avatar for adult entertainment company TurboSquid, and is here used to disrupt the straight male gaze through empowered female-bodied actions. This includes masturbation and female ejaculation responding to the UK ban of their depiction in porn, and an ‘Off Our Backs’ poster in the background of the CGI room referencing the “first lesbian erotica magazine run by women for women”. Eventually the moving image of EVA v3.0’s body begins to break up and display an inverted face that looks like stretched skin and echoing ‘Cite Werkflow Ltd.’ (2015), a face imprinted in clay installed across the gallery. The gaming PC ‘SECOND SEX WAR ZONEand animation ‘DICKGIRL 3D(X)’ (2016, respectively) made with digital arts studio Werkflow Ltd explore processes of 3D modelling as a parallel to how human bodies are socially constructed and altered to conform.

In the vegan leather cushion in the centre of the space and the wire suspended monitor and speaker, the artist explicitly references the sado-masochistic practice of artists Sheree Rose and Bob Flanagan. This also recalls Hansen’s previous series of interdisciplinary events This Is Not A Symptom (2014 2015) on biopolitics, disability theory and Anti-Psychiatry as the critique of mainstream psychiatric treatment. ‘CULTURAL CAPITAL COOPERATIVE OBJECT #1’ is a ceramic wall relief produced in collaboration with artists Manuela Gernedel, Alan Michael, Georgie Nettell, Oliver Rees, Matthew Richardson, Gili Tal and Lena Tutunjian, and co-operatively owned by the makers. Similar to how the body is reduced to commodity for capital, a relational process as organic as collaborative artistic practice can be framed and formalised as ‘cultural capital’ within certain discourses, and exploited for commercial purposes.**

Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s Second Sex War is on at London’s Gasworks, running March 17 to May 29, 2016.

Header image: Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR (2016). Installation View. Photo by Andy Keate. Courtesy the artist +  Gasworks, London.

  share news item

Gili Tal @ Temnikova & Kasela, May 26

25 May 2015

Artist Gili Tal brings a new solo show to Tallinn’s Temnikova & Kasela, titled Agonisers and opening May 26.

Agonisers comes on the heels of a busy year for Tal, who put on Damage Control at London’s Lima Zulu and Panoramic Views of the City at Sandy Brown last fall/winterparticipated in a group show at Life Gallery with artists Lena Tutunjian and Felix Lee, and made a top ten list by Heatsick’s Steven Warwick.

No info is given about the upcoming show at Temnikova & Kasela, but it’s safe to say Tal will continue probing the capitalist machine, perhaps using post-Communist languages and references to Marx’s Capital (like she did for her Lima Zulu show).

See the gallery website for (minimal) details. **

Gili Tal, 'Panoramic Views of the City' (2015) @ Sandy Brown. Courtesy the gallery.
Gili Tal, Panoramic Views of the City (2015) @ Sandy Brown. Courtesy the gallery.
  share news item

Gili Tal, Lena Tutunjian + Felix Lee @ Life Gallery, Jan 10 – 18

9 January 2015

Life Gallery is bringing a new week-long group show featuring artists Lena Tutunjian, Gili Tal and Felix Lee and running at their new Albion Street space from January 10 to January 18.

The London gallery has seen some great artists roll through its doors in the past year, including Aimee Heinemann with COPE AGAINST COPE at the beginning of last year, Emily Jones and her Prayer for the Sonoran Desert show in February,  Cédric Fargues with ARTOAST over the summer, and Holly Childs and Max Trevor Thomas Edmond with Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials}.

January’s show brings together Gili Tal – following Panoramic Views of the Cityher Fall show at Berlin’s Sandy Brown Gallery – as well as artists Lena Tutunjian and Felix Lee, who participated in an Arcadia Missa 2013 collaborative group exhibition, purlove, for Tank Magazine’s decade launch party.

See the Life Gallery website for details. **

Gili Tal, PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE CITY. (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.
Gili Tal, PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE CITY. (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.
  share news item

Gili Tal, Panoramic Views of the City (2014) exhibition photos

29 December 2014

“What kind of image do you end up with?” asks the close of a draft of informal notes taken by artist Gili Tal and Sandy Brown director Fiona Bate for its recent exhibition, Panoramic Views of the City, that ran in Berlin from October 25 to December 13. From the images alone, it’s hard to distinguish which is a window and which is the screen featuring an image of an outside in the gallery space. It’s a sublimation print on MicroTexx hung from a railing on a front window featuring a ubiquitous archetypal heart. It bears little resemblance to the muscular organ but represents an almost universal symbol of human emotion adorning a view out from a spätkauf shop window on a Langese ® icecream umbrella, or a Lycamobile advertising sticker.

Gili Tal, PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE CITY. (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.
Gili Tal, Panoramic Views of the City. (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.

Next to the LED strip that lights up ‘Love and War’ (2014), the glass pane of the Sandy Brown front door looks out on to a street lined with autumnal trees, in contrast to the other’s summertime green. One wonders how distinct these images are from any other inner-city suburb, apart from presenting the German Heartbrand subsidiary of an Anglo-Dutch multinational, as opposed to the global brand’s ‘Wall’s’ in the UK or ‘Streets’ in Australia.

“…but the thing you represent when you come face to face with me has no heart in its breast. What seems to throb there is my own heartbeat.”

The above quote is Marx anthropomorphising a capital that “asks for our love” and identifies “our own heartbeat” as being at the centre of the Panoramic Views of the City exhibition. The sparsely adorned gallery walls present one curtain, two paintings and three blenders set across the small space, inspired by Tal’s observation of advertising that trades on a “high end emotion and urgency” that demands its consumer’s love (an “aggressive, emotive and manipulative” one). That’s where the three paintings ‘Cityscape Pictures (1, 2, 3)’ (2014) present an oil on canvas reproduction of a cityscape taken from a t-shirt from Dutch retail chain C&A. It’s text is stretched and distorted by shifting dimensions and superimposed on a metropolitan image that is “both generic and specific at the same time”. Inspired by the countless souvenir tops, canvas prints, mouse mats, towels, toilet brushes commemorating a time and place that could be experienced anywhere, it echoes Milton Glaser’s “I ♥ NY” design, become “I ♥ LA”, “I ♥ London”, “I ♥ Tokyo”, “I ♥ Ho Chi Minh City” and so on.

Gili Tal, Panoramic Views of the City. (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.
Gili Tal, Panoramic Views of the City. (2014). Exhibition view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.

Distorted in such a way that they resemble Edvard Munch’s iconic angst-ridden expressionist piece ‘The Scream’ (1893) (also the subject on an earlier Tal exhibition Damage Control at Lima Zulu last year), ‘Cityscape Pictures (1, 2)’ become what the artist calls “a sardonic re-activation of this idea of speed and modernity that such images rely on and work on emotionally”. The absurdity of this notion – in light of the epically unexciting way this capital pressure is executed via homogenised self-reproduction – is emphasised by the fact that one of these stretched images is dropped on its side.

At the centre of all this is ‘But the World Keeps on Turning (Der Himmel Über Berlin Version)’ (2014). They’re three blenders, household appliances on a shelf above a rubber floor mat, mechanically altered and slowed down by an engineer to rotate at about 60 revolutions a minute: “blenders as sky, shelf as earth, floor mat as sea”. They lurk like the three clocks your likely to see at an internet cafe. Clocks showing the time across global capitals – New York, LA and London perhaps – from a space where your only access point is via the images conjured through arms on clock faces, computer screens and panoramic photos of an unttainable location. The ‘real thing’ is one reserved for those that can afford it; luxury apartments on lifestyle property websites where a window with a view becomes a trading point, the city as emblem of private wealth and patriarchal power structures. With that in mind Tal’s notes ask, “what would be my city view? >>>curtain?”. The exhibition  answers, “I can’t have panoramic views. I can buy pictures of them”. **

Exhibition photos, top right.

Gili Tal’s Panoramic Views of the City exhibition was on at  Sandy Brown, October 25 to November 22, 2014.

Header image: Gili Tal, ‘Love and War’ (2014). Install view. Courtesy Sandy Brown, Berlin.

  share news item

Gili Tal @ Lima Zulu, Nov 24

22 November 2013

Incidentally, Heatsick’s Steven Warwick just put a list together of some of his favourite artists, and Gili Tal is one of them. She’ll be presenting Damage Control at London’s Lima Zulu, this Sunday, November 24.

Described by Warwick as an artist known for their “acerbic commentaries on participation and the public event”, one can only imagine what the gif from the iconic Edvard Munch scene-made stop-motion-short in Sebastian Corsor’s The Scream represents, beyond being an obtuse press release.

Plus this:

“House Residents + guests > low key come over ” – Mike Levitt, 2013
And this:


See the Lima Zulu website for details. **

  share news item

10 artists Heatsick rates

22 November 2013

A board of blinding lights, the metronomic click of a beat-up CASIO taps against an elastic keyboard loop that stretches and contracts, expands and compresses, across the ebbing tide of space and time. A tiny bottle of Chanel No. 5 materialises, Steven Warwick gingerly squirting its contents on a convulsing audience at the Berghain in Berlin. This is one of several times I’ve seen, felt and absorbed a Heatsick performance but the perfume’s a first.

At the time, I thought it was just another addition to the multi-sensory experience that Warwick strives towards; a bodily transcendence founded on a powerful conceptual bearing. By now I’ve figured otherwise. Said ‘feminine fine fragrance’ reappears, again and again, as a bootlegged ‘climate change’ sweatshirt and the “clear chanel” of his RE-ENGINEERING artist statement, a manifesto of sorts accompanying what he calls the “11 blobs” of his upcoming vinyl release, out through PAN on November 26. “It’s the smell of modernity”.

Warwick is as much a musician as he is an artist and intellectual, the distinction as imperceptible as his life view is malleable. A Berlin-based performer steeped in a visual culture orbiting but not limited to the city, his first full-length as Heatsick is littered with references to the contemporary art discourse and theory that he disrupts, dissects and often parodies, in the same cyclical way that RE-ENGINEERING ends as it begins, if not in a distant, degraded form.

Fellow artist Hanne Lippard’s colourless, disembodied voice preens, over measured exhalations and a crisp melody evoking a dial tone, as she robotically engages in a disintegrating loop of references; speaking, quoting, sloganeering, “black power”, “gay Google”, “what we do is secret”, “labour in the bodily mode”, “second annual trend report”, over a rhythm that is less a groove than a forward lurch. Warwick’s manifesto’s “relentless interconnectivity” carries on, across ideas and ideologies, philosophers and philosophies, even past recordings and present tracks, surfacing and disappearing across its track listing.

“I’ve just really thought about these things, they’re such concerns,” says Warwick through Skype and on tour in Australia, about the ideas and aesthetics that he often explicitly explores, sometimes abuses, on RE-ENGINEERING, “That’s the thing with a lot of network theory and circulation. I’m really trying to link a lot of ideas, or map my own ontology, or even some kind of mode, and I’m trying to think about why I think that. Sometimes, if I see people referencing certain philosophers or schools of thought, and it’s just a bit of a quick joke, you feel a bit short-changed, and not in a particularly subversive way.”

Jesse Garcia purrs, disjointedly in ‘DIAL AGAIN’ emulating the stilted automated voice, deliberately, poorly, over swaggering toms, while Warwick’s voice comes through a far-off megaphone, beneath the noise of a field recording, repeating Lippard’s words (“Modern life is still rubbish, you say. Modern rubbish is still life”) from the beginning, now at the end, as it links into album-closer, ‘ACCELERATIONISTA’ –a circular motion of movement ending up where it began, but different.

“With RE-ENGINEERING, it’s playing around with treating it more like a manual. It’s like, ‘let’s look at these options and maybe you can reprogram yourself to try and get around this dissatisfaction’, or you could just also remould something,” Warwick tells me, following up an email listing ten artists he thinks are doing just that.


Ed Lehan is known for his acerbic commentaries on participation and the public event. See his various shows where the opening will consist of a reconstruction of an empty charity box built by the artist, a case of beers, a barrel of mojito and the visitor(s). For the one at a gallery in Tallin [Error 404 at Temnikova & Kasela] he reconstructed an adizone that had been popping up in various parts of London for the Olympics.”

“In Loretta Fahrenholz’s film ‘Ditch Plains’, a street performance group contort in the early hours of a desolate area of East New York, various upscale hotel spaces and an apartment in Manhattan, post-Hurricane Sandy. It’s a strange post-apocalypse zombie HD afrofuturist hypercapitalistic ecological crisis; a networked virus of disconnect.”

Georgie Nettell’s last show [2013 at Reena Spaulings] dealt with notions of recycling, circulation and eco branding. Local dirty dishes were picked up in restaurant bus trays and re-presented in the gallery, images found on the internet were downloaded, distressed and formatted onto raw linen canvases. Her musical group, Plug (with Sian Dorrer), also used a stock image as its cover, confusing the listener as to the public image of the group. “

Plug, Body Story (2011). Album cover.
Plug, Body Story (2011) album cover.

Katja Novitskova uses images found on the internet such as wildlife and prints them out, mounting them in physical space and opening up the notions of documentation, preservation, ecology and materiality. The digital image is itself fuelled by carbon materials and minerals extracted from the earth. Species on the verge of extinction are fed back into image circulation and, in turn, play with the neuro-chemical recognition mechanisms in the viewer’s brain.”

Katja Novitskova, 'Approximation III' (2013). Image courtesy of the artist.
Katja Novitskova, ‘Approximation III’ (2013). Image courtesy of the artist.

Paul Kindersley’s thebritisharecumming YouTube channel  is best viewed left running during a morning after with genuinely bizarre makeup tutorials, presumably also made the morning after (perhaps a satire of the MT genre themselves) at once absurd, daft, unnerving, hilarious and engaging. Current fave: Babes (correct usage).”

Gili Tal presented REAL PAIN FOR REAL PEOPLE [at LimaZulu] as a wall text superimposed by four gestural paintings, evoking haptic gestures and waiting room paintings. The text consisted of the “goriest parts of Marx’s Capital” (itself full of references to Dracula and Frankenstein), written in languages from post-Communist countries and presented with the deceptively friendly aesthetic of an Innocent smoothie, one visitor was heard to have described the show as “Muji Expressionism”.”

Gili Tal, REAL PAIN FOR REAL PEOPLE. Installation view (2013). Photo by Tom Carter.
Gili Tal, REAL PAIN FOR REAL PEOPLE. Installation view (2013). Photo by Tom Carter.

Sabine Reitmaier is a photographer and artist whose work blurs commercial and fine art contexts. Her show [Not comme les autres at Galerie Friedlaender] last year consisted of portraits of models staged in a similar method to how she would present them for the Psychologie Heute covers she also shoots for. In the exhibition, the large format photos confront us, provoking how we make neurological recognitions and associations, down to posing, body language or the coloured backgrounds that Reitmaier herself painted as per a photo shoot.”

Sabine Reitmaier, 'PETIT POIS "CAVIAR VERT"'(2012). Courtesy and @ Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender, Berlin.
Sabine Reitmaier, ‘PETIT POIS “CAVIAR VERT”‘(2012). Courtesy and @ Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender, Berlin.

Hanne Lippard‘s vocal register evokes the automated hold tone of a service centre phonecall and plays with pre-existing imagery found online. Her videos such as ‘Beige’ deploy wordplay and humour to comment upon the hyperreal mundanity of part time work, lifestyles and (non) space.”

Sarah MacKillop‘s Ex Library Book is itself an artist book consisting of fragments of obsolete library books –withdrawn from circulation and sold off at a discounted price onto a discarded heap –presented as a shiny glossy catalogue. Her other artist book, New Stationary Department, consists of various materials found at various stationers, be it neon marker pens or corrective materials such as Tipp-Ex, found in the commercial office, highlighting and reworking notions of editing, work and commercial presentation.”

Ex Library Book by Sara MacKillop. Published by Pork Salad Press (2012).
Ex Library Book by Sara MacKillop. Published by Pork Salad Press (2012). Image courtesy of the artist.

Rachel Reupke deals with HD stock images in videos that, when stripped of its conversations, penetrate an eerie and uncanny atmosphere of social relationships and catalogue-like objects. The warm emotional bond of social relation deployed by advertising is stripped and the viewer is suddenly presented with a cold flat image.In ‘Containing Matters of No Peaceable Colour’ from 2009, the hard gaze confronts the viewer with a series of HD towels while an automated voice proceeds to obsessively list a lifestyle specification quota with the delivery of a Robbe-Grillet novel.” **

Heatsick’s Interiors is out now through Motto Books. RE-ENGINEERING is out on PAN, November 26, 2013.

  share news item