The Deptford X Festival is launching across sites in the Southeast London area, running September 23 to October 2.
As the English capital’s longest-running contemporary visual arts festival, the event presents a new core programme entitled, ‘Platform 2016’. Five emerging contemporary artists have been commissioned to create new and ambitious site-specific works in the London Borough of Deptford, offering “key support to young artists with great potential at an often overlooked stage of their nascent careers”.
The ten-day festival will see these ambitious visual arts projects installed in a diverse range of sites and venues across Deptford, forming the core programme of the festival, named ‘Platform 2016’, which sits alongside the parallel Fringe festival.
As the first instalment in the Ruptures “critical nomadic platform”, the event applies to the series remit of being held in “expected and unexpected” spaces with this one being “The Boardroom” of the ABI building and exploring the “contamination of the corporate” in art.
The Nothing group show is on at Huddersfield’s Unna Way, opening December 5 and running to December 11.
The exhibition will be the third for the gallery since their inaugural Its Our Party and We’ll Cry If We Want To, Cry If We Want to, examining art openings as places and times of partying “through our own cruel attachments towards artistic institutional rituals”.
“Do you feel the pull of soft comfort in the folds of those materials that offer optimistic value, that promise that this time it will be just right? What do we labour towards when the potential is often more affective than the completed form…?”
It attempts to take “the material of identity – where materials become identity – as a place from which to run”. The press release further states, “devotion exists, and does so, and must do, without empirical knowledge. Being devoted here (in the West) means embodying pushes and pulls between your irrational self and the rational world”.
Darling’s ‘Wounded Door’ (2014), an abstract rectangular sculpture made of welded mild steel with a cast iron wheel, appears to be in search of definition as the corners and edges demarcate where the position begins and ends in the physical space. Alongside ‘The Veterans’ (2014), their sculptures maintain a sense of strictness, with hard corners and angles that almost imply stability in their position, whether physical or theoretical. However, the fragile and vulnerable design contradicts itself: it seems as if they could tip over from the slightest poke or breeze.
A pencil drawing on archival paper, gesso, emulsion, and spray paint made up Shiomitsu’s ‘Untitled (Range #2)’ (2015), which also seems to “push and pull” between its position, the material’s irrational self expressed with marks and scratches against the rationale inherent in the support and material – rectangular MDF and plywood boards. Perretta’s ‘5 percent’ (2015) HD video loops next to sandalwood incense in a pickle jar, typically used as a votive or gesture of devotion. van der Maaden’s ‘From a Head to a Head (clip)’ (2011) uses HD video documentation of a ritualistic ceremony of non-western tradition that jerks at the ambiguousness of the other artists’ works, positioning itself within well-defined tradition and history.
A text by Tom Clark published to vqxz.net accompanied the exhibition. **
Generation & Display is celebrating its inaugural exhibition at their new North West location with a massive group show titled K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid!) and running from March 20 to May 2.
While no description is given about the thematics or aesthetic leanings of the show, its lengthy list of participants gives an idea of what to expect. Included in the line-up are Paul Kneale, Jesse Darling and Ben Vickers, who are simultaneously participating in the Berlin Lunch Bytes conference that weekend.
Same Same, Darling and Shiomitsu’s first show together, opened last October and ran at the CAC 41N/41E Gallery in Bat’umi, Georgia until January, where London’s ANDOR is picking up the baton with Spirit Level.
With Same Same, the two artists created a series of site-specific architectures, curated by Elene Abashidze, and, as the name implies, mirrored each other in a reflective sort of way.
Spirit Level on the other hand, comes accompanied by the two words’ multiple meanings as noun, verb and adjective spanning action, emotion, soul and alcohol, along with position, plane, tool and volume.
The show, which is titled /marinate and features artwork by Perrettaand writing by Shiomitsu, follows Ffrigidaire’s first show, Man Magnet Melancholy, which featured Abri de Swardt and Zoe Marden and ran from November 9, wrapping up a few days ago. The one-night-only show will be accompanied by a DJ set from SOUP BOYS (structuralviolence) and “ayurvedic punch on tap”, whatever that means.
Fittingly, Ffrigidaire leaves its press release bare-bones, writing only “There’s not much left that hasn’t already been claimed,” which, after reading somewhere close to an ad infinitum of press releases, sounds like the coldest, hardest truth.
“So that’s what’s inside a fridge. That’s it’s skin and guts. That’s what’s inside a car. It’s the skin and guts. This is what’s inside most of the built word. Skin and guts”.
Jesse Darling is narrating the scene of a rusted car frame on a pile of industrial refuse, a disemboweled fridge with damp yellow fluff, its insulation, bursting out of the rectangular gash of metal left exposed to the elements in a Georgian scrapyard. The artist is in the town of Batumi on the Black Sea with collaborator Takeshi Shiomitsu, picking through the modern rubble for material for an exhibition, as two halves of Same Same, curated by Elene Abashidze and held at CAC41N/41E gallery from October 2 to January 4, 2015.
As the name implies, two is the lucky number with its multiples coming not only in the two artists and their four feet at CAC41N/41E, but a second readymade exhibition/construction site of four-limbed tetrapods, an hours busdrive north in Anaklia; the Same Same of its title applying to both organism and object, intent and inertia. Inertia itself being both movement and stasis reflects the duality, or otherwise simultaneity of a collaboration between Darling and Shiomitsu whose respective practices run in parallel and by that I mean also in opposition to each other. Their approach is one of mirroring but in the way that a mirror-image moves with your movement but still flips the text on your t-shirt.
But here’s some more useful information: Darling and Shiomitsu were invited to Georgia to contemplate and make art around these two spaces where one is a gallery where they would (hopefully) produce things, and the other is a construction site where a nationalistic current government is stockpiling tetraeder-shaped shore protection barriers. Otherwise known as tetrapods, they happen to also be used as tank traps in military defence and are being built at the border of a partially recognised autonomous zone under proxy government by Russia, a country which has threatened Georgia with invasion in the past and is implicated in a secessionist conflict just across the Black Sea in Crimea. So why two foreign artists to explore such regionally specific and politically loaded work?
With all the two-fold ideas knocking around – North/South. Tetrapod (animal)/ Tetrapod (structure). Destruction/Construction. Scraps/Art materials – why not? After all, Darling’s is a preoccupation with a “phallic modernity” where all is vulnerable, however monstrous, and where visions of a future post-apocalypse that might never happen are realised in labour-intensive, process-driven, precarious and unfinished constructions. Shiomitsu’s is a more pragmatic approach to form and material, particularly in its expression of ‘whiteness‘, while revealing a similar weakness, or sensitivity in exhibitions like WASH. The title tipping to a “cleaning and cleansing process” as well as a “foundational” one – as explained by Shiomitsu in an interview transcript between himself, Darling and Arcadia Missa‘s Tom Clark to be published, along with text by Julia Marchand, in January 2015.
In light of all this, we asked the artists to film some of the process, with the assumption that that would include the end point. It didn’t. Instead the three archival folders sent to us featured footage of fragments of Darling and Shiomitsu drinking, fighting, filming a dead bird, as well as welding, hammering and constructing for the exhibition but none of the finished show itself. It’s all process but no product. Having seen the install images though (which you can see in the photo gallery top-right) where top-heavy wooden structures on stilts (jic?) look like they could collapse at any moment and a blue tarp dubbed ‘flag’ in its image file spans CAC41N/41E’s two-storey windows, it makes sense to do it this way. Because as Darling himself described in a presentation at this year’s Extinction Marathon the tetrapods are “maybe like religious artefacts and condoms, and perhaps children, and perhaps artworks. They’re just something to stave off the inevitable.” **
The press blurb for Every Line Ever Spoken, running at at Copenhagen’s 68 during Artist Run Festival, describes artists Takeshi Shiomitsu and Sandra Vaka Olsen‘s exhibition as one focussed on the “whiteness, purity and neutrality” in the surface of contemporary aesthetics. Funnily enough, one of those words comes up as a synonym for the other. Apparently, according to the English language, ‘whiteness’ equals ‘purity’, while ‘neutrality’ is an often-used descriptor for one and the other.
The colour white is neutral, the “4. Moral practice” of ‘purity’ includes ‘modesty’, ‘virtue’ and ‘virginity’. A virgin can be “10. of,pertainingto,orcharacteristicofavirgin:virginmodesty” and ‘modesty’ involves a certain “decency of behaviour” that includes “3. simplicity;moderation”. You can put machinery in “thepositionorstateofdisengagedgearsorotherinterconnectingparts:inneutral”, or paint them a neutral colour, like, say, white. The antonym for white is black.
Between Olsen’s Sunshield and Shiomitsu’s Pale History, the implications of these words influencing convention, or an “inherited and culturally normalised expression and history”, are not only made visible but material. They’re works that you can touch, that occupy a physical space and thus have a direct impact on how we move around it. It is visible, it is real, and while the image on the screen is intangible, the means for its display –the canvas or the computer screen –isn’t.
“Digital surfaces presume a neutrality or absence of bodily activity” says the press blurb, but it’s “a surface so concerned with so-called immateriality and yet so touched”. **
In the accompanying punctuation-free blurb, references to (ex-)Neocon Francis Fukuyama, cleaning products and telecommunications point to the pervasiveness of a suffocating modernity and ends with a reference to the Dutch still-life of Vanitas, which presumes mortal life as generally meaningless. That sense of futility is certainly something that trails Shiomitsu’s work and an ideal end the oppressive year that was.
“images of rapture creep into me slowly, even in the most beautiful images I painted the room with white supermatte emulsion thickened with bleach white printer pigment ink (quick note on Francis Fukuyama in japanese fuku means to wipe or to mop & yama means mountain) caulk pen ink odourless deodorant chalk and limewater bleaching cream pigmentation corrector changing all interior fittings to anti-ligature alternatives the semiconductors driving communication technology are manufactured in a cleanroom i washed the brushes and rollers in bottled sparkling water and used a branded low-odour solvent to clean oil-based dirt roller sleeves for the application of matte paints were used exclusively contaminatory particles are minimised in these environments and actively filtered out through controlled airflow I mopped the parquet floor with a subtly scented alkali solution the lean production system is designed to minimise waste and deliver maximum value to the end consumer We are always unaware of being sure of something we really don’t know all glassware was installed by professionals wearing the correct safety apparatus taking the correct precautions sometimes I think I eat too much we approach the landscape like a vanitas handle ornaments like a mirror”