Everything is recorded: Francesca Gavin meets Toby Ziegler

21.03.2018 | Culture , Music | BY:

What happens when you mix sound and image? This layers of contrasts and collaboration has led to one of the most interesting projects of the year, between British artist Toby Ziegler, XL’s Richard Russell and Sampha. Toby took time to talk to Twin about the project:

How did the decision to work together happen?

I’ve known Richard for about 15 years. We’ve had a 15 year long discussion about music. We’ve also been talking about collaborating for ages but this is the first time it made sense. About two years ago he played me early recordings of some songs off the album, and immediately the title track clicked with this work I’ve been doing, using search engines, so I offered to make a video for that song. The installation grew out of that video.

How did you respond to the music?

Initially I set out to make a fairly conceptual video that only intersected with the song in places, using a similar image search to make a kind of visual Chinese whispers. I was aware of Sampha and Richard’s narratives behind the song, but I was trying to make a tangential video about the way images get juxtaposed online, poignant ones and banal ones. I wanted to reflect the dispassionate nature of the algorithm that drives an image search: sometimes cancer cells are visually equivalent to instagrams of pizza, and termite mounds segue with mushroom clouds. Image searches can function like cut-up techniques or tarot, highlighting our predisposition to find meaning or poetry in seemingly random juxtapositions, and sometimes looking for images online feels like consulting the oracle. In this case subconscious decisions and fate intervened in extraordinary ways to make the video far more autobiographical, and closer to the narrative of the song, than I had originally intended.

Everything is Recorded installation at Hackney Arts Centre

With this album Richard was considering his experience of temporary paralysis from Guillan-Barre syndrome, and Sampha related the song to the experience of sitting in hospital with his dying mother. During the month I was finishing the video my mother had an accident, spent two weeks in a coma and then died. So many people visited her during the course of those 2 weeks, it was a real vigil, but frequently the highly emotional atmosphere was punctured by the banal. Discussions of consciousness and mortality, jostled with lengthy conversations about sandwiches.The video took on all sort of resonances I hadn’t previously considered and I allowed myself a different sort of freedom in the final editing. So the video took this sequence of image searches as the starting point, compressing over 3000 found images and videos, but I then incorporated some photos and videos I’d shot myself.I’ve found images operate at different speeds, and editing the video was analogous to playing a musical instrument. I played the drums for 20 years and then quit in my late twenties, but for this video I made a sequence of images and ‘played’ them.

Then I decided to make a second video for a song featuring Infinite Coles called 8am. It triggered a very specific memory for me, from an acid trip when I was 16. I made a lot of work that stemmed from that one evening in a way, and it started me off using CGI in my paintings. I have this archive of 3D landscapes and objects that I used for paintings and sculptures about 10 or 15 years ago, and for this video I turned them into an animation, a sort of drive-through of this tunnelling geometric space.

Tell me about the installation you created to debut the films and how it functioned?

The song Everything Is Recorded was also central to my design for the installation at the abandoned cinema in Dalston. I wanted to project the video in an old disused cinema for the association with projected analogue images, and also as a space that clearly bore the scars of it’s history. For the installation I wanted to show the two videos I’d made on a cinema screen, flanked by two other screens with projections from webcams in real time. I wanted something that operated at a different frequency to the slightly epileptic ‘image search video’ and the CGI of the 8am video (originally I was going to use a live feed of motorway traffic cameras on the other two screens) When we found a space that could house both the projections upstairs, and the gig downstairs it seemed perfect, and immediately it was clear that the live feed should be to cctv of the stage and rehearsals downstairs. It was very interesting to have these different projections running simultaneously. When you walked into this delapidated, cavernous cinema you could hear the band rehearsing in the space directly beneath you, rumbling through the floor, and see a live link to two cctv cameras trained on the stage. It was an uncanny experience, and often took people a few minutes to compute how the sound and images fitted together. If you put on the headphones you could hear the soundtrack to the videos I made, which were projected on a larger central screen. There were two parallel audio spaces to go with the two visual ones.

What works did you show as part of the performance rehearsal area? What did you like about that context?

When I was 17 I went to Lagos and saw Fela Kuti play in his club, Shrine. It was this huge corrugated iron shed with black and white photographs lining the walls, really rickety podiums dotted around for his dancers, and a huge stage that didn’t really separate the audience from the band. Initially about ten musicians came on and started playing , and then periodically a few more people would wander on stage, have a drink and a chat, and then join in, until eventually there were about 50 people on stage. Fela came on after about four hours of this. That was partly the inspiration for the stage downstairs.

I put a low stage in the middle of the room so the audience could get close and it felt intimate, but it was a place the whole band could hang out. The space downstairs is usually a venue for weddings and is white with a tiled floor and a lot of purple furniture, but I wanted attention to be focussed on the performers and a few objects I introduced, so I put a black floor down and black drapes all around, like a Samuel Beckett production. The stage was approximately triangular with some higher and some lower platforms, and three of my my older sculptures functioning a bit like totems or sentinels at the points. The sculptures also appear in the 8am video as virtual models in a CGI landscape. On the walls there were huge posters of Robert Johnson and Ralf and Florian from Kraftwerk, who were the household gods for the whole project.

Everything is Recorded installation at Hackney Arts Centre

What interested you about the contrast and relationship between music and your work?

I used to play in bands when I was a teenager and in my twenties, but it reached a point where I was dividing my time between visual art and music, and not doing anything justice. I got sick of being the unreliable drummer so I completely quit playing. I loved what playing the drums does to your brain, and I think I can occasionally reach a similar state making visual things. I definitely think music informs my paintings and sculptures in a lateral way. I think images and objects function at different frequencies or speeds, and since I’ve started making video work that aspect has become more explicit.

The title track is very much a criticism of our relationship to the digital. How does this connnect to your own take on the internet, technology and our access to imagery?

I’m not sure if that’s what Richard and Sampha intended, but for me it’s exciting how quickly things are changing and sinister how trusting we are. My diabetic son has a sensor under his skin that talks to my phone, to monitor his blood sugar, and in a way the internet also functions as a prosthesis. The internet is a repository for many of our memories, and Google could be seen as our collective unconscious. When you do a similar image search for a picture that doesn’t exist online, the algorithm analyses the image and creates a set of visual parameters by which to find similar ones: colour, tone, composition, and to some extent subject, and shows you the most popular images within those parameters. The results change from day to day depending on what people are looking at. I found that one brownish, abstract image which reliably fed back images of fried dumplings suddenly started to prompt pictures of arid landscapes, because of a drought in California. The results also change because of the constant modification of the algorithm , and it’s scary to think how much influence the designers of these algorithms have.

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Twin curates: the best things to see at Frieze 2017

02.10.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Frieze is here this week and even those with the most tentative interest in art will be blown away by the onslaught of visual experience coming to the city. Twin rounds up the ten best things to catch at Frieze 2017.

 

1:54 African Art Fair

 

This satellite fair in Somerset House, focused on galleries and artists from Africa, has grown every year and shows some of the most interesting and less known work you’ll see in the week. You are guaranteed to discover new artists – keep an eye out for Ouattara Watts, Marlene Steyn and Admire Kamudzengerere. If you cant make it in person the website has a good visual compendium of featured artists.

 

Ouattara Watts, After rain, 2017, Mixed media on canvas, 182 x 160 cm. Courtesy Primo Marella Gallery

Ouattara Watts, After rain, 2017, Mixed media on canvas, 182 x 160 cm. Courtesy Primo Marella Gallery

 

Seth Price at the ICA

 

This retrospective brings together 20 years of one aspect of Price’s work – his videos. They are amazing, influential and worth every minute you watch them.

 

 Jeremy Shaw, Arthur Jafa and Everything at Once by Lisson Gallery at 180 The Strand

180 The Strand is putting on three killer shows for the next few months. Past Twin interviewee Jeremy Shaw has a solo show on the ground floor, Arthur Jafa is showing a film on the roof in a tent and Lisson gallery has filled the former office block with massive installations. All free. All exceptionally good.

 

Jeremy Shaw's sci-fi pseudo-documentary Liminals to be exhibited at Store Studios this autumn, presented by The Vinyl Factory and König Galerie.

Jeremy Shaw’s sci-fi pseudo-documentary Liminals to be exhibited at Store Studios this autumn, presented by The Vinyl Factory and König Galerie.

 

Georgina Starr at Frieze Art Fair Projects

 

Starr is getting some well deserved attention with a narrative performance project at Frieze, showcasing her mysterious and marvellous take on brains, bubbles, disembodied voices and strong female characters.

 

Haroon Mirza at Zabludowicz Collection

Psychedelic film installations, a sensory deprivation chamber and mix and match take on collaboration. This brilliant show which is evolving over three months is also the show for a performance by dancer Wayne Macgregor on Thursday (book now).

Nathalie Du Pasquier Other Rooms at Camden Arts Centre

Nathalie Du Pasquier Other Rooms at Camden Arts Centre

 

Natalie du Pasquier at Camden Arts Centre

 

Du Pasquier was one of the members of iconic 80s design collective Memphis, who are having a serious moment. This exhibition brings together paintings and art objects she has created since in a fine art context but still have a touch of individualistic colour and architectural shapes from her earlier work.

 

Dream Art Fair

 

You can visit one of the most interesting emerging art fairs from your own bedroom – Dream. This five day online fair is a great project, with a well curated selection of galleries. Experimental while still being accessible.

 

Renate Bertlmann, Eva im sack (‘Eva in bag’, 2010) (detail). Digital print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Richard Saltoun, London

Renate Bertlmann, Eva im sack (‘Eva in bag’, 2010) (detail). Digital print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Richard Saltoun, London

 

Sex Work curated by Alison Gingeras at Frieze

 

Twin profiled Black Sheep Feminism curated by Alison Gingeras in Texas, showing female artists from the 60s and 70s who were ostracised for their sexual imagery. The curator brings her research to London in a new form. Expect from beautiful and brilliant takes on genitalia.

 

Bob Parks Open Air Gospel Choir at Gallery of Everything

 

If you want something extra crazy, performance artist Bob Parks is your guy. To activate his show at the Gallery of Everything this Tuesday between 3 and 5pm he’ll be bringing a gospel choice to Chiltern Sreet. Expect it to have a large dose of wildness added on.
 

10 Sunday Art Fair

 

This long running fair down Marylebone Rd from Frieze focuses on smaller and often more interesting galleries. Always worth going to see new work and have real conversations with exciting international spaces.

 

Honourable mentions, because then things is not enough: Douglas Gordon at Gagosian, Tobjorn Rodland at Serpentine, Dorothea Tanning at Alison Jacques, Superflex at Tate Modern. 
(Featured image credit: Georgina Starr, Moment Memory Monument, 2017. Photo Henrik Blomqvist). 

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Anne Morris in ‘Form and Volume’

04.06.2017 | Art | BY:

What happens when you take simple objects and turn them into art? Annie Morris’ practice grew out of drawing. Her love of line develop into sculpture, painting and free-hand sewn works that exude joy. She uses everyday objects such as biro pens and clothes pegs to make pieces that brim with a personal visual language full of narrative pleasure.

The staking sculptures she has on show in Form and Volume at CF Hill in Stockholm sit firmly between the abstract and figurative. They are often human scale, or larger than life, but seem to echo the vertical stance of the human body. She reduces her forms to shapes that are circular but inanimate. She plays with gravity, creating balls of pigment and colour that seem to defy the laws of nature.

The formal nature of her stacks veer towards the language of painting. She studied with Giuseppe Penone at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and Phyllida Barlow at the Slade in London – and reflects their sense of solemnity and play, free space and steadiness.

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She uses coloured pigment, chalk and watercolour on the surface of her balls, which are intentionally hand made and uneven. Their imperfections give them a feeling joy, lightness and humour. The balls should fall apart, but Morris’ has enabled them to reach upward seemingly through hope and intention as much as anything else.

Each of Morris’ colourful combinations are unique. There is a sense of repetition and exploration in combinations that brings to mind Joseph Albers. She obsessively deconstructs and reconfigures fragments on order to create something harmonious. The stacking series slowly emerged in the wake of her experience of giving birth to a stillborn child, the resulting trauma and the relationship with her desire to have children (she now has two). These are works about hope and harmony in the face of hardship.

Morris has now begun to explore making stack works in metal – experimenting in both bronze and steel. Most recently she has been working with technicians who fabricated work for the iconic British modernist sculptor, Barbara Hepworth. A feminist aesthetic heritage runs throughout Morris’ work, yet her work is not limited by references to gender – her use of line echoes both Jean Cocteau and Louise Bourgeois. This is an artist whose ever-expanding approach is both personal and refreshingly accessible and universal.

Annie Morris is on show in Form and Volume at CF Hill, Stockholm until June 30

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The female artists at Venice Biennale 2017 you need to know

12.05.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Bored of yet another long list of old white male artists? Fear not. There are many women on show at the Venice Biennale this year making thoughtful, complex and deeply considered work. These are ten of most exciting names at Venice Biennale 2017.

Tracey Moffatt

Australia’s acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Tracey Moffatt will be showing a new body of work entitled My Horizon. Expect a discussion of global issues around what is legal and illegal, fictive and real, lost and remembered.

Hell (Passage Series) Tracey Moffatt Venice Biennale 2017

Hell (Passage Series) Tracey Moffatt Venice Biennale 2017

Kirstine Roepstorff

Scandinavia always has to share a pavilion at Venice, but a stand out should be the wild and weird collage based works of Kirstine Roepstorff. It’s hard not to enjoy the way the Danish artist transform our image and information saturated existence into inventive collage and montage work.

Carol Bove 

Carol Bove, alongside duo Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, has created a pavilion which examines why Alberto Giacometti, despite being asked numerous times, refused to show in the Swiss pavilion Venice. The American artist’s sculptures and assemblages should make a great starting point for this instructional critique.

Carol Bove at Venice Biennale 2017

Carol Bove at Venice Biennale 2017

Geta Brătescu 

This brilliant, entirely individual older artist is exhibiting her work for Romania (Londoners should go to Camden Arts Centre to see some incredible work by her from the 1970s). She can do anything from performance to abstract painting, embroidery to sculpture Proof that artist work truly gets better with age.

Phyllida Barlow

Finally another woman is getting a chance to take over the British pavilion! No one could fill it better than Barlow, with her painted, chaotic, building sized installations and sculptures. Barlow, who taught artists like Rachel Whiteread at the Slade, really hit it big after she ‘retired’. About time too.

Installation view, folly, Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, folly, Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Candice Breitz 

Breitz’s film installations just keep getting bigger and better. Following a killer show at KOW in Berlin starring Alec Baldwin, and a huge project at KW Berlin with Tilda Swinton last year, Breitz is taking on the South Africa pavilion with what is sure to be brilliant work on representation and identity.

Candice Breitz, Love Story, 2016. Featuring Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore

Candice Breitz, Love Story, 2016. Featuring Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore

Martine Syms

LA artist Syms just keeps making good work. On the eve her of first solo show and feature length film at MoMA in NYC, she is also one of the finalists for the Future Generation Prize for work that takes on the structures of media and representation of Blackness.

artine Syms (United States) Lessons I-LXXV, 2014-2017 Series of 0’ 30’’ videos. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue Gallery

artine Syms (United States) Lessons I-LXXV, 2014-2017 Series of 0’ 30’’ videos. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue Gallery

Lisa Reihana 

New Zealand representative Lisa Reihana’s paintings feel as if the could have been made in the 18th century as much as today. The main focus of her work is a wallpaper installation based on Captain Cook’s voyages using digital audio visual animation to explore the European fetishisation of the Pacific.

Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015, HD video (detail), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of Auckland Art Gallery.

Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015, HD video (detail), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of Auckland Art Gallery.

Barbara Walker 

Barbara Walker is one of 40 artists in this brilliant exhibition of emerging artist, curator and mentors being launched by Nicolas Serota, the Diaspora pavilion. Based in Birmingham, her drawings and paintings look at class, power and cultural difference.

Barbara Walker

Barbara Walker, ‘Private Face ‘, exhibited at Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham, May – July 2002.

Dawn Kasper

Dawn Kasper is one of the women the central (female) curators the biennale has included in the main exhibition. A performance artist based in NYC, she studied under Chris Burden and Catherine Opie in LA, and make installation based projects about fear and panic – timely for our current emotional fall out then…

Dawn Kasper On Desire or the Method, 2016

Dawn Kasper, ‘On Desire or the Method’, 2016

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Aleksandra Domanović: Votives

07.04.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

What happens when you fuse Ancient Greek sculpture with a future-modern aesthetic? The result is ‘Votives’, a very strong solo show at the highly respected Henry Moore Institute in Leeds by Berlin-based artist Aleksandra Domanovic. The exhibition forms a fascinating take on the history of sculptural language, with seven new female sculptural figures each holding different objects referencing at time the Greek practise of votive offering and, in some cases, women’s basketball.  Six are human size, while one room is devoted to a huge, royal blue, 3D printed monolith. Domanović’s exhibition brilliantly unpicks changes in modern scientific research, the new materials and aesthetic emerging from tech culture, and the relationship to politics and monument. Here are three motifs in her work to keep in mind.

Cows: Domanović’s 2016 show at Tanya Leighton gallery explored recent scientific research into molecular biology, in particular the work at the University of California Davis to produce cows with no horns. In this exhibition ideas around genome editing are combined with a reference to the ancient Greek sculpture Moscophoros, found on the Acropolis, depicting a man carrying a calf possibly to sacrifice to the female goddess Athena.

10. Installation view of Gallery 1

Tupac: Domanović’s film ‘Turbo Sculpture’ (2010-13), on show in Leeds, looks at the trend of producing public sculptures devoted to popular figures in the former Yugoslavia, such as Bruce Lee and Bob Marley. The documentary-like piece at one point discusses the Italian artist Paolo Chiasera’s grey life size sculpture of Tupac, the African American musician and hip hop icon was murdered in 1996.

Robo-arms: Disembodied hands often figure in Domanović’s work. She was originally inspired by The Belgrade Hand, one of the first robotic hands created in 1963 by Rajka Tomanovic in Serbia. This prosthetic hands created with a sense of touch, able to close when it made contact with an object. Aleksandra’s robot-like hands have expanded into 3D printed limbs, based on the artist’s own body.

12. Installation view of Gallery 1 showing 'Hare' (2016)

 

Aleksandra Domanović: Votives is on at the Henry Moore Foundation, 23 March – 11 June 2017

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Art class

09.11.2009 | Art , Blog | BY:

Jarvis Cocker is increasing his already exponential creative credentials with an amazing sounding three day pop-up exhibition-cum- event at Village Underground in East London. He’s already tried it – with great success – in Paris. This time around interactive jams with the public who bring instruments, live graffiti from Pure Evil, pole dancing and hula hoop classes, spoken word and special guests are all part of the live line-up.
Get involved.

12-6pm November 9th – 11th
www.jarviscocker.net

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You’ll be a woman soon

30.10.2009 | Art , Blog | BY:

Artist, designer, illustrator and all round creative eccentric Julie Verhoeven is getting her first well-deserved museum show as an artist at MU in Eindhoven. Entitled ‘Man Enough To Be A Woman’, the exhibition includes installation, film works, sculptures, canvas pieces and past collaborations with people like Peter Saville and Fischerspooner.

From Nov 13 to Dec 30 at Mu, Eindhoven.

www.mu.nl

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A whiter shade of pale

30.10.2009 | Art , Blog | BY:

The King of visceral pop art, Paul McCarthy heads to NYC for an enticing new exhibition. He’s put aside pigs, pirates and sploosh style mess to create an entire body of work about Snow White – often with her hands between her legs – and her many dwarves. To mirror the words of Mae West: “I used to be Snow White but I drifted.”

‘White Snow’ opens on November 4 at Hauser and Wirth in New York.

www.hauserwirth.com

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