Magazine: Issue 13
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Review: Antiquity Bonk
ANTIQUITY BONK AT THE SUNDAY PAINTER Antiquity Bonk Ben Wheele The Sunday Painter 10 March – 8 April 2012 (viewing still possible by appointment) Ben Wheele’s Antiquity Bonk is the only show I’ve been to that’s made me want to vomit upon entering. And that’s not out of anything so removed as a revulsion at the subject matter depicted, but due to the sheer overwhelming smell of charity shop and turkish delight that hits you when you enter the room. A false wall has been constructed in the upstairs gallery space at The Sunday Painter. Entering into the space behind, it’s not just the olfactory sense that is viscerally affronted. The entire fabricated room has been turned into a gaudy confection of pink panelled walls. There is an excess of everything except taste. The works themselves include both sculpture and wall mounted pieces. The latter appear to be photographs of three-dimensional pieces, which in a way is what they are, only they never actually existed in a strictly physical sense. Wheele studied animation, and uses his digital modelling skills to create these three dimensional objects which can be ‘photographed’ from any angle without actually having to make them. Like the installation, the works themselves are overloaded with excess. Gaudy gold frames alone are not enough, the images are further set within bounding rectangles of kitsch pattern. Everything shimmers with glossy slickness and pearlescent reflection. And within this baroque-rococo overload lies vaguely disgusting subject matter. It’s not made bluntly obvious, but the associations of bodily matter and function are unavoidable. Slicks of snot, mucus membranes and distinctly genital forms pervade. Antiquity Bonk 2012, archival giclée print, 59 x 84 cm It’s hard not to feel disturbed. The gaudy sweetshop excess that hits you initially is replaced by a sense of much more adult decadence. An Ancien Regime boudoir of sexual pleasures, but taken to a sickly, unenjoyable extreme. Throughout though, that initial thought of innocent, childish sweetshop remains and so creates extreme discomfort, society’s greatest taboo: surely even just looking at this is very, very wrong? Antiquity Bonk, Installation view 2 The only possible relief Wheele offers the viewer is the calming effect of the strict geometry he imposes on the space. Thanks to the false wall, the room is a perfect square. The sculptures are precisely centred on each wall, with the two dimensional works all equal in size and symmetrically aligned either side. However the respite lasts only as long as it takes to realise the position the artist has placed you in, in this composition. Having entered through the door in the centre of the fourth wall and inevitably stopped dead to adjust to the full frontal assault on your senses, you complete the arrangement as the fourth sculpture. Antiquity Bonk, Installation view, The Sunday Painter, 2012 The gaze is then turned back on you yourself. The works around you hold dark disturbing associations beneath their initial outward sheens of glossy perfection: are you any different? Bedtime Accident 2012, archival giclée print, 59 x 84 cm Ultimately the only escape is to head back out of the door, away from that sickly pink and awful smell. The sense of relief is immediate and unusually tangible. Yet as soon as you leave there’s something pulling you back; excess seems to draw and excite us as humans, even when we’re placed uncomfortably in the spotlight. Adam Walker For more information, please visit:
Spotlight: Arcadia Missa
Arcadia Missa In this spotlight Chantelle Purcell catches up with Rozsa Farkas and Tom Clark from Arcadia_Missa. To find out more on the official Last Fridays After Party they are hosting, Friday 25th May 2012, the launch of Arcadia_Missa’s first Ejournal, their upcoming programme, their thoughts on; online spaces and education and much much more. CP: Arcadia_Missa comprises of ...? AM: Many people, it is a Contemporary Art Gallery focusing on digital, experiential, collaborative and performative practices and encouraging discussion and critique. Artists’ studios and office space. Publisher; functioning as an extended platform for exhibiting works and to continue discourse outside the physical place of Arcadia_Missa. CP: Can you tell us about your individual practices? AM: We don’t have individual practices, but work as Arcadia_Missa. We (Tom Clark - Rozsa Farkas) work very closely together and take on different roles when producing at/for/as Arcadia_Missa. Other people who are part of Arcadia_Missa have various practices such as writing/designing/artist(ing) – and we suppose that we also wear these hats as individuals from time to time. However the project as a whole seems like a conjoined or joint praxis. Daniella Russo and Thomas McCarron Shipman Prosthetic limbs for the Able Bodied, Arcadia Missa (October 2011) installation view CP: This month you are hosting SLAM’s official Last Friday’s after party, SNAP! Where you will be celebrating the 90‘s, what can we expect from this event? AM: We have transformed the gallery into one huge installation-party, the night itself is run by our close friends Tom Broadbent and Jack Walmsley, (the creators of the night Redux)– so we have collaborated with them to produce an event at the space as a massive celebration for; Last Fridays, our EJournal and the constant nostalgia that seeps into our lives (without taking this too seriously). CP: This event is also the celebration and launch of Arcadia_Missa’s first Ejournal. You have stated that this journal is a hybrid between a downloadable exhibition and a publication. How would you say that the exhibition format translates into the online format and in turn how will this create the landscape and setting for the upcoming exhibition? AM: The EJournal is a thing, an event and object combined. The experience of it is temporal; the action of encounter is as a product (object). You navigate your way through it, and through the visual and text based information – just as you would an exhibition. You are taken to research and references as you might be in conversation with others at a private view. It does not replace our shows, but it does serve as an additional space for this sort of thing, just as it serves as an additional publication (one that is different in purpose and presentation, to that of our print issues) in our continued research and discourse. Jesse Darling Stockholm Syndrome and Other System Failures, Arcadia Missa (March 2012) CP: Briefly can you talk more of the upcoming HTSF3? (How to Sleep Faster Three) AM: Very briefly it is, as with the curatorial theme we have been researching and showing in various forms in the gallery, asking the questions: What does it mean to survive today? Is it possible that survivalism is our only remaining ideological position? Moreover have we been co-opted into data survivalism by a structural shift to a semantic web where we must update and optimise our online identity-image in order that we retain any control over how we are perceived? Is it possible to commit a digital suicide? CP: With the recent launch of Google Art’s project. How important is it that real space can inhabit the virtual? And is the online space really, one of universal interactivity? AM: The virtual is a/a component of our real experience of space – we still use it and exist within it whilst never leaving a form of location in a ‘real’ space - within our own corporealities. For us it is more interesting to see how one can pull out, stretch or mutate ‘the virtual’ and understand how it effects our relationships, societies, cultures as it becomes increasingly ubiquitous ‘IRL’. The difference with the Google art thing is that it sees itself as a bridge between on and offline – as separate things/places – and therefore acts to represent art by replication of a ‘real’ experience. We would argue that your experience of works on a screen is still real, it just gives you a different experience to going to a gallery, and we don’t want to try to mimic an offline experience of viewing art online, rather experiment with and question the experience of viewing art both on and offline – in the reality within which all is contained. Also this just smells again like Google, mapping user’s data trajectories. Katja Novitskova and Amalia Ulman, Profit | Decay, Arcadia Missa (February 2012) installation view CP: Now in its second year, have you thought of the survivalism of Arcadia_Missa and do you think the evolution of the gallery, as a place of participation and collaboration, is just one way to survive? Can you talk more of this? AM: It’s a way to survive and disrupt our process, our assumptions. In terms of research and critique, collaboration is the most intrinsic way for this transparency of working through ideas to survive, not to mention the fact that in collaboration there’s always someone there to either support or contradict you. In this it is very difficult to become formalized or work in any institutionally-sensible way, but this is the key to maintaining the precarity of the research to the point that it’s always interesting not to mention Arcadia_Missa surviving in the way that it exists and can exist. CP: As consumers of higher education, what do you think of the current state of education? Do you think artists will like you, find new ways to continue learning and how do you think this could change the arts landscape, as we know it? AM: Everyone does, and always has kept on learning to some extent, we are just a bit more explicit about it, for a number of reasons. Firstly I think it is a mixture of humility and not wanting to perform the traditional institutional task of reification of culture. Of course people will look to other places for their education, this is a twofold response to the neo-libralisation of higher education and more broadly our educative outlook, in that firstly a degree is seen as a provision of a quantity of value equal to its price, you see a better deal somewhere else then yeah go for it: secondly, and perhaps the question implies self/alternative/open/independent/free (etc) educative initiatives, but this focus on the power of the individual’s choice comes with a sense that I/we could do it better - a lack of trust in institutions bred out of no longer having a traditional relation with them as a user, but rather now as a consumer (the customer/student is always right) - and so regardless of what you actually want to get out of education, the idea is that there’s always a better option, is always there stemming from the individual as the centre of their consumer universe. So while it might look like this is some sort of solution to the easily experienced problems of a bureaucratised, statistics-focused, privatised and standardised higher education landscape, we want more to be engaged in learning or pedagogies that resists easily being described as a unique educational product or methodology. YBT for PAMI, Arcadia Missa (September 2011) installation view The arts landscape is varied and constantly in flux, the economics of the landscape thrive on this – its USP (unique selling point) of contemporaneity. As with increasing privatization/outsourcing etc of the majority of the public sector, the outsourcing of art educational services makes for a hybrid of education-exposition, or as many art students would say ‘business’. This is reflective, not only of the immediate socio-political context, but also of the evolution of neo-liberalism and culture over a long period of time, which in the twentieth century (as with the post-fordism/decreasing types of industry in western countries) ran concurrently to an outwardly hyper-‘specialisation’ of service, often with limited means or outcome of production. What is interesting is that this service is increasingly paralleled with online platforms, which are starting to bring in to question what role this post-fordist artist serves in the plethora of places of expression online. As everyone ‘produces’, or ‘serves’ - by ‘sharing’ online, we have to think and look carefully at the remit of what art is, and how or why an artist is ‘other’ than those reusing visual culture as a way to construct their identity, for example. This shift (or at least interest in re-evaluation) mirrors the shifting ‘platform’ of education as a specialized, privatized, service provider and if people are questioning the role of art education post network, post production, as they are changing the acceptance of what is art or artist, then in terms of trends and debate it could be a more and more interesting time for culture in this country. This can be done in or out of the institution, but if the art ‘school’ is to survive as a cultural institution spearheading the ‘new’ emerging artists, then it needs to adapt and understand what this neo-liberal hyper-specialised, outsourced, and increasingly less tangible service it is which they can or should provide. Think of myspace, even better think of msn chat – and look how quickly their userbility/ship jumps ship. If education is commodified, then arbiters of commodity can educate – and that means there’s competition in the market. By deliberately still being the apprentice and openly inviting others to join, we are attempting to stay in a liminal, exploratory space that can continually grow with all participants, not just us. This is why we would not want to be either providers or individual consumers of, education. CP: What networks and links have occurred from Arcadia_Missa? AM: We have had the pleasure of showing many people who we admire and/our view as our peers. This has also often naturally evolved into exciting and nourishing collaborations (predominantly in editorial and curatorial instances around publications/discussions-events) with fantastic artists – those ‘part’ of Arcadia_Missa and those not, most notably and recently but not limited to Harry Sanderson and YBT, Daniella Russo & Thomas McCarron Shipman, Jesse Darling and Jammie Nicholas. How To Sleep Faster Preview 3 CP: What highlights have there been within your exhibition programme so far? AM: The collaborations we mentioned (above). Also being able to show international artists also after being such a young space (such as Profit | Decay - with Katja Novitskova and Amalia Ulman). How to Sleep Faster Preview detail CP: What’s next? AM: MORE. A_M O-O - Arcadia_Missa Open Office. It is an Arcadia_Missa installation that provides a physical exhibition space, which is active, productive and attempts to create a critical context for artworks, praxis and projects to momentarily sit within. Made up of modular furniture/props, this mutating structure instigates this ‘critical context’ via its compaction of research, production and display into one space and artist, curator, writer and visitor into one participant. Physically it will be a surreal environment that will seem like an office, like the places we already work in, but in its specific environment will break down this experience of work allowing us to examine our space of work, the value and symbolic action of our work or ‘playbour’ and at the same time the ostensibly anaesthetized real-world like situations project or office-based practices seem to offer. More details on the programme will be live on the Arcadia_Missa website by the end of May! But you can watch a sneak preview here: CP: Thank you so much Arcadia_Missa Image Credits: Preview of How to Sleep Faster E1, edited by Tom Clark, Rozsa Farkas, Jammie Nicholas, Harry Burke and Louis Eastwood. Contributions from: Iain Ball, Emily Jones, Daniella Russo and Thomas McCarron Shipman, Yuri Pattison, Dan Szor, Amalia Ulman, Katja Noviskova, Howard Slater, Anthony Davies, Nils Norman, Harry Burke, Harry Sanderson, Arcadia Missa: (May 2012) SNAP! Launch Night: A Celebration of the Launch of Arcadia Missa's First Ejournal: How To Sleep Faster E 1 +SLAM Last Fridays Official After Party (Gallery Open From 7pm, party from 9pm onwards) Friday 25th May 2012 For more information on the Official Last Friday launch party click: Visit Arcadia_Missa Website:
Preview: Enclave
Preview: Enclave Launching June 15th 2012 Enclave, Resolution Way, London SE8 4NT Those familiar with the ever changing urban landscape of SE8 couldn’t fail to notice the newest edition to Resolution Way (better known as the railway arches). The function of the new build had been a closely guarded secret until Deptford’s own Anthony Gross of temporarycontemporary revealed the building would become an artists’ project space (housing some 9 artist collectives, and gallery space no less) and not a Starbucks on steroids as speculated. Rachel Price talks to the man himself about what this ambitious project will bring to the fold: RP: Hello Anthony! For our readers who don’t know, you currently run The Old Police Station and co-run Cartel on Amersham Vale in New Cross. Your new project Enclave is about as ambitious as it gets, and as far as I’m aware unique in its set up. How will the public gallery element of the project be curated? AG: Hello, the set up is there is a lovely new gallery, a project space and our curatorial offices and then 9 independent project spaces/collectives/artists networks. This is all in a cool architectural layout, a strip, not unlike our prison cells or containers at the Police Station, as Robin Klasnik from Matts Gallery pointed out and on a much bigger urban scale! The gallery helps the project spaces by giving them free blocks of time to present their projects there in addition to what they programme in their own spaces. So this means the Enclave gallery will mainly host their shows for half the year and the rest of the time we will present our own projects, international film club, symposia and so on. RP: How were the collectives selected for the 9 project spaces with Enclave? AG: We had an open submission which is still open in fact, we have held back two units for after the launch. We really wanted people who would commit to a certain amount of output each year and who could demonstrate their own self-assured management. We wanted to create a site-specific range for Enclave going from \\\'institution\\\' (the main gallery), to established project space (Centre of Attention), to new experimental project space (Anarch), to international spaces (Divus & Umelec magazine), to artists networks (ALISN) to artist networks that incorporate community and education also (Occupy My Time) - who have collaborated with Kitcsh in Sync to do a pop up coffee shop also. Like I say we want two more quality participants for the site. RP: Some of the projects and artist collectives who have new homes at Enclave have firmly established reputations already. The project Occupy my Time for instance, is well known for its nomadic nature and site specific projects, will they be ‘tying down’ their programme or will Enclave act as more of a HQ for projects like this? AG: I think it is great for a lot of spaces who have been nomadic to finally have a base of operations at a low cost and for there to be a whole supportive infrastructure for them at Enclave. But we hope to encourage relationships and projects further afield and we hope there will be international residencies and exchanges and so forth. RP: In some ways Enclave can be viewed as an ongoing social artwork in its own right: As far as I’m aware, the set up is unique and approach experimental. Is it important to you to question and test the way artists work, and the way we invite the public to interact with the ‘art experience’? AG: It’s great that you can see that and think that is what it is. Event Horizon was a show temporarycontemporary did at the Royal Academy, that was a social club with an intense programme of events, The Old Police Station is an infrastructure for artists and social HQ that is like an \\\'occupation\\\' or squat, of an old building and therefore with a more grass-roots objective. Enclave is the professionalised movement in Deptford, a specific response maybe to what (I think) is missing or there could be more of. I think a lot about Gordon Matta Clark and of an artist action that is at an urban scale. It doesn\\\'t matter if this is seen as \\\'my artwork\\\' it is autonomous straight away. But yes, it definitely is an experiment in shaping art experience in the capital. RP: Enclave launches officially with Artist Urban Action on June 15th, can you tell us a bit about this? AG: Yes, each project space will present their own independent exhibitions and events (look at our amazing new website ( for info). We then commissioned curator David Thorp to curate a show in the Gallery and John Hansard Gallery then also took this show. I invited Adam Christensen to do a solo project, which will be a cinema experience with new chapters or episode produced each week. I asked if LUX would select an artist and their artist associate Conal McStravick will be our first artist in residence making work during the month. As well as that we have Toby Huddlestone incorporating the history of Bristol’s Plan 9 gallery, with Dj sets on the opening night and lectures. We then have Oliver Bascioni as writer in residence and a new online virtual gallery. Re-title and Arts Council are supporting all this too. RP: It all sounds unmissible, a thoroughly intriguing project, so we’ll see you on the June 15th! Anthony, thank you for your time. AG: Great, join us for snacks, drink and a nice big exhibition launch in Deptford! Rachel Price An interview with Anthony Gross and a number of Deptford\\\'s gallery directors can be downloaded as part of our free audio gallery tours in Deptford. Listen & walk here: Image Credits Works from the Enclave launch show ‘Quarantania’: Taus Makhacheva ‘Untitled 1’ from the series \\\'The Fast and The Furious\\\' Eva Kotatkova Neha Choksi ‘Anaesthetising Donkey’ , from the series \\\'Minds to Lose\\\'
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