Artist Seana Gavin has rummaged in the super/collider’s library of vintage science books and world encyclopaedias to create surreal collages of imagined landscapes.
Inspired by a mutual love of old educational materials, each collage draws on anthropology, space exploration, mineralogy, botany and astronomy – transforming hard science into a series of otherworldly scenes that are both playful and slightly unsettling, existing outside of any recognisable time or place.
The three new prints follows on from Gavin’s ‘Cosmic Worlds’ series in 2011, which similarly depicted otherworldly scenarios.
The triptych – Planetoid Life, Time Traveller and Liberty Sunset – are available to buy on super/collider now.
Seana Gavin’s latest exhibition creates a space where past, future and parallel worlds collide. End Times showcases collages where everything that has been and will be all co-exist in the present moment. The imagery and symbolism of ancient civilisations and tribal cultures allow her work to explore the relationship between the past and a concept of the future.
Gavin, a BA Visual Arts graduate, has had solo shows at the concept store 3939 and The B Store on Saville Row. Her artworks themselves have been published in many art and culture magazines including Twin.
End Times opens today and will be shown until the 23rd of July at Celestine Eleven.
Artist and previous interviewee Seana Gavin headed down to the annual arts mecca The Venice Biennale this week. In the following piece, Gavin handpicks her top ten pieces from the event exclusively for Twin…
I am only just recovering from a very full week spent at The Venice Biennale. It is my third time there and its always a great experience, but this year I really connected to the work on a more personal level.
In Il Palazzo Enciclopedico in the main Giardini there was a very obvious spiritual theme, with lots of cosmic, supernatural, scientific and nature over tones which I found really inspiring and relates to some of the subjects in my own art work. Here is some of the work that I especially connected with:
Carl Gustav Jung, ‘The Red Book’ in II Palazzo Enciclopedico
Jung experienced visions, visual fantasies and premonition dreams from a young age. In 1913 he thought he was going insane after having very intense apocalyptic visions, which he soon realised were omens of the horror of 2nd World War. He began to fill notebooks with detailed descriptions of his dreams and visions which then became the ‘The Red Book’. I loved the way the pages from the book were displayed in a round shaped room – it reminded me of a scene from film ‘The Holy Mountain’ by Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Shary Boyle, Canada Pavilion
This was one of my favourite pavilions. The room was blacked out. Inspired by the moon, the only light was a subtle glow highlighting revolving moon-related sculptures. The main piece was a 3D set, containing white figures in a landscape with collage imagery projected on to it. It would flash between the white figures with a moon-like glow and the collage projected version.
Jakub Julian Ziolkowski in II Palazzo Enciclopedico
He created a series of paintings including imaginary beings, hybrid and mythological creatures. I particularly liked ‘The Sleep of Reason’ depicting a bodily and grotesque hellish landscape.
Roger Caillois’ stone collection in Il Palazzo Enciclopedico
He was a poet and theorist heavily involved in the Surrealist movement. He praised how stones appear to depict landscapes and commented on their beautiful patterning. Here his personal, well chosen stone collection was displayed in glass cases. As someone who has collected stones and crystals since I was 5, I really appreciated it and enjoyed examining his collection.
Shinro Ohtake in Il Palazzo Enciclopedico
There is a whole room full of Ohtake’s scrapbooks displayed in cases. They are held open to view random pages of his mixed media collage images responding to mass media and contemporary urban life. I love the layering and looseness of his approach.
Ryan Trecartin, Il Palazzo Enciclopedico
He creates weird uncomfortable alternative realities in video form, inspired by game shows, reality TV and talk shows featuring transgender characters and Spring Break-like American teenagers. The digital effects, bright coloured face paints and exaggerated personas create a strong flavour of a bad acid trip. Here he has collaborated with Lizzie Fitch and other artists to create sets around the viewing space that expands the environments from the videos. You feel as if you are emerged into the films.
Bedwyr Williams, ‘The Starry Messenger’, Wales in Venice
He created a series of rooms relating to the exploration of infinity and minute space. I was blown away by the video piece which took you through a journey like a string of consciousness – going from the details of the granite marble flooring beneath your feet to the galaxy in the sky.
Axel Veervordt curated the exhibition this year in this amazing space. It consisted of Tapies’ personal art collection along with some of his own works. It is so inspiringly put together. Often the architecture becomes part of the work – as with these pieces the crumbly walls where the work is hung seems to fuse into the paintings.
This space was created by a group of south London based creatives. Artists including Jon Rafman, Rob Chavasse, Samara Scott and Viktor Timofeev were commissioned to create the interior. The palazzo included a bar and an internet lounge and became a hub for Londoners in Venice. Throughout the week they hosted a series of events and served a lot of aperol spritz!
Jeremy Deller, English Magic at the British Pavilion
The whole pavilion contained several works all connecting to British culture and history. One wall showed a display of Neolithic hand axes dating 4,000 BCE all found along the Thames. In a corner of the room there was a stand where you were invited to hold 2 of the axe heads carved from stone while being told the history of the objects made by pre-humans! In another interactive area you could make your own DIY Jeremy Deller print to take home. But equally worth mentioning was the seriously fun after Party which the Brits do so well – which included a spontaneous naked male dancing as the steel band played British classics such as Voodoo Ray.
Words and images by Seana Gavin
With Frieze Art Fair having turned London into a kaleidoscope of visionary talents, the timing could not have been more ripe for Seana Gavin’s Alternate Dimensions exhibition at the b Store.
The artist will be showing exactly what makes her space psychedelia work so magnetic. The exhibit will include a three-dimensional collage window installation and otherworldly landscape pieces such as Lost In Space.
Gavin, for whom dreams, science fiction and her upbringing in Woodstock, NY all act as inspirations, has previously exhibited her pieces alongside the likes of Tracey Emin, Mark Titchner, and Jake and Dinos Chapman.
A graduate from the Camberwell College of Art, she explores different states of consciousness in her work, in reaction to the imagery overload and visual noise that constitute our modern-day world.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Gavin’s work so compelling: is it the full spectral range of colour, the seemingly unconnected elements that are blended into one cohesive image or the fact that her collages transport its viewer into another dimension?
The definite explanation of its attraction may still be up in space, but it’s clear that the only worthy way to experience Seana Gavin’s work is up close and personal.
Alternate Dimensions is at b Store, 24a Savile Row, W1S 3PR until 5 November.