10 October 2015 — 17 January 2016
Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS
SCROLL DOWN AND KEEP SCROLLING is the most comprehensive exhibition of Fiona Banner’s work to date, re-presenting key early projects alongside recent and unseen works that span a period of 25 years. “It is not a survey – more of an anti-survey,” says the artist, “A survey suggests something objective, historical, and fixed. This is subjective; nothing else is possible.” Throughout the exhibition Banner revisits her work with intensity and humour.
Fiona Banner with NAM stack (1997), c-type print, aluminium
©the artist, courtesy Ikon Gallery
Banner came to prominence in the 90s with her wordscapes; written transcriptions of iconic films retold in her own words. THE NAM (1997) is a 1,000 page book that details scene-by-scene six Vietnam War films - including Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now - in such a way that they blur into each other. The outcome is, in the artist’s words, the literary equivalent of a “gutting 11 hour supermovie”. Jovially lambasted as ‘unreadable’ by one critic, Banner responded with the 1997 performance Trance in which she read aloud the book in its entirety, in one sitting. These pivotal works mark the entry point of the exhibition and are a gateway for much of Banner’s later practice, particularly her explorations of the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
In a recent collaboration with the Archive of Modern Conflict, Banner commissioned a Magnum photographer to take pictures of London’s financial district literally through the lens of a conflict photographer. The resulting works use Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a filter through which to read the tribal behaviour of those in the business of finance, an environment of weary survivalism combining competitive trading floors, corporate art collections, manic drinking cultures, luxury shopping and strip clubs. Included in this exhibition are a related series of large-scale graphite drawings entitled Mistah Kurtz - He Not Dead (2015), depicting magnified details of pinstripe, the iconic costume and contemporary camouflage of trade in the City.
The exhibition also includes several recently completed films by Banner marking a new trajectory in her practice. Chinook (2013) focuses on the absurdist spectacle of military air shows in the UK in which the Chinook helicopter performs an aerial ballet, carefully choreographed to push the craft to its limit for the purpose of display. In Tête à Tête (2014) two mechanically operated windsocks participate in a kind of dialogue based on a scene from a costume drama. Set in the pastoral English countryside, the protagonists’ interactions are played out mutely, their fitful semaphore referencing Banner’s concern with the power and limitations of language and our (her) struggle to communicate.
Punctuating the gallery where the films are shown are various Full Stop sculptures: full stops in different fonts blown up to human proportions. Previously incarnated in bronze, here they are presented as malleable bean bags and within the exhibition provide a moment to sit; to pause for thought. Banner’s tactile approach to material is evident too in Work 3 (2014), a life-sized glass scaffold tower which stands tall in Ikon’s vaulted space, its fragility undermining any possibility of usefulness.
Fiona Banner, Bam Bam Bam Snoopy! (2011). Nose Art on Chinook Helicopter, Vietnam, 1971. Silver gelatin photograph Image. © the artist
Publishing is central to Banner’s practice and she often produces books through her own imprint The Vanity Press. For the artist the act of publishing is itself performative, and this exhibition at Ikon will display a wide archive of previously unseen publications and ephemera. In addition, the artist will also publish a major new book to accompany the exhibition, typeset in a new font created by the artist and entitled Font. Font is an amalgamation of typefaces Banner has worked with previously, and will be used throughout the museum for the duration of Banner’s show. She explains: “It’s a family tree arrangement where the child of Avant Garde and Courier mates with Peanuts and Didot's child. Bookman and Onyx mate; their child mates with Capitalist and Klang's offspring - the final font is an unpredictable bastardisation of styles and behaviours.
Instead of formally presenting completed art works, the book will focus on related material from Banner’s personal archive compiled over the last twenty years. Matching THE NAM in scale, it will present a timely sequel to her first publication. The show will consequently tour to Kunsthalle Nürnberg from March 24 – May 29, 2016.
“This is a survey of work by one of the leading lights in the British art scene, at a pivotal moment in her career. We feel privileged to be presenting it.” Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director.
The exhibition is supported by a donation from John Lewis to Ikon.
The Other Criteria London shop, previously based in Marylebone, re-opens at 9 Newport Street, London in SE11. The shop will be located at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery.
Other Criteria at Newport Street Gallery will feature a rotating mixture of works by artists such as Damien Hirst, Mat Collishaw, Harland Miller, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Polly Morgan, Polly Borland, John Isaacs, Don Brown, Rachel Howard, Gary Hume, Michael Joo, Eduardo Sarabia and Thomas Scheibitz. The full rosta of works published by Other Criteria will remain available online at othercriteria.com and in our New York and Ilfracombe shops.
Newport Street Gallery is the realisation of Hirst’s long-term ambition to share his art collection with the public. Designed by architects Caruso St John, the gallery spans 37,000 square feet and includes six exhibition spaces – one with a ceiling height of eleven metres – split over two levels.
The construction of Newport Street Gallery involved the conversion of three listed Victorian buildings, which were purpose-built in 1913 to serve as scenery painting studios for the booming local and West End theatre industries. With the addition of two new buildings, the gallery now spans half the length of the street.
Newport Street Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, ‘Power Stations’, presents a selection of John Hoyland’s large-scale works dating from 1964 to 1982, displayed throughout all six of the gallery’s exhibition spaces. The first major survey of the artist to be presented since 2006, ‘Power Stations’ spans a pivotal period in Hoyland’s career, punctuated by his first solo museum show, at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1967, and his defining retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery (1979–80).
John Hoyland (1934–2011) is one of Britain’s leading abstract painters. Renowned for his intuitive manipulation of colour, form, line and space, Hoyland emerged at the forefront of the abstract movement in Britain in the early 1960s, and remained an energetic and innovative force within the field, until his death in 2011.
Other Criteria features new works to acompany this exhibition:
8 October - 7 November 2015
Private View: 7 October, 6.30-9pm
The Contemporary London
Space W10, 591-593 Harrow Road, London W10 4RA
The Contemporary London presents Modern Mythology, new works by Lindsey Bull, Adam Dix and Jess Littlewood that draw on a rich lexicon of imagery to explore our understanding of the world and the constructed belief systems used to navigate it. Drawing on resources from folklore, cult, witchcraft, religion, sci-fi and the occult, the central themes of each include motifs of ritual, religion and mysticism that culminate in a private and mysterious, ethereal and haunting mythology that transcends and overlaps their collective worlds.
Adam Dix, Beyond Expectation, 2015, ink and oil on panel
© the artist, courtesy The Contemporary London
Adam Dix explores modern manifestations of illusion, apparition or figments of the imagination and spiritual and electrical manifestations of the subconscious. Drawing inspiration from events such as séances and the birth of the telegraph, where the knockings of spiritual awareness replicate the electrical intermittent pulses of the telegraph operator’s action, Dix brings together technology and spiritual superstition. Our contemporary apparition is the digital image, an illusion presented by a veil of pixels which once examined is hazy, unfocused and non-tangible; an electrical spirit, a digital apparition. Through the thin layering of paint glazes, Dix’s painting process metaphors the shallow illusion of the digital screen and is an analogy to the surface character of a printed material. As such Dix’s works speak about communication, society, and our relationship with the constructed image.
Dix, Littlewood and Bull, each with their own distinctive voice, articulate and explore a circulation of connectivity. Submerged in mysticism and a sense of the transcendental and manifested through a language of ritual, this exhibition addresses ideas of human behaviour seen in the practice of religion, collective practice, mysticism, collective identity, community, communication and notions of how alternative realities and private mythologies realign our connection with the past and look to the future.
Eduardo Sarabia's new monograph has been published on the occasion of the artist's mid-career survey, by Instituto Cultural Cabañas and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Oaxaca, with the support of the State of Jalisco, Mexico. The book includes new texts by TMR Director and Chief Curator Cesar Garcia and DePaul Art Museum Director Julie Rodrigues Widholm.
The book launch will take place on Wednesday, the 30th of September at The Mistake Room, 1811 E. 20th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90058
Books will be available for purchase at the event and the artist will be present to sign copies from 7pm to 8pm. A reception will follow book signing.
25 September 2015 to 10 January 2016
The New Art Gallery Walsall presents a major survey exhibition by British artist Mat Collishaw, his largest UK show to date and his first in a UK public venue for over ten years. The exhibition will testify to the richness and breadth of Collishaw’s practice and will include sculpture, photography, film and installation.
Mat Collishaw, Insecticide 24, 2008, c-type photograph, 182 x 182 cm.
© the artist, courtesy BlainSouthern
Mat Collishaw is fascinated by the darker side of human nature. He has never shied away from difficult or challenging subject matter yet images that deal with death, destruction and decay are revealed as beautiful, hypnotic and compelling. In Collishaw’s world, seduction meets repulsion, the shocking becomes alluring, the beautiful becomes squalid and desire meets pain. As an artist, he is only too aware of the power of the image to manipulate and he draws his inspiration from a range of sources such as the slick world of advertising, the rich seams of art history, television, the media and popular culture, nature, mythology and the proliferation of images available through the internet. In pursuit of his distinctive conceptual language, he appears to move seamlessly between media and techniques, embracing both old and new technologies.
A major new work, All Things Fall (2014), will be shown in a darkened space on Floor 4. The work is based on the story of the Massacre of the Innocents, a Biblical story of infanticide by King Herod to avoid losing his crown. The tale has provided dramatic subject matter for artists throughout history including Rubens, Reni, Giotto and Tintoretto. Collishaw combines the old technology of the form of a zoetrope, an early means of presenting the illusion of a moving image, with new technologies to design and create the work. All of the 300 characters and architecture have been designed in the 3D Max programme and then printed as 3D models in resin. The circular sculpture rotates at speeds so high that the static scenes become suddenly animated. In this frantic and detailed scene, the eye struggles to focus on one point. It is constantly urged to move on and explore the multiple bodies in various contortions. This is, in part, why Collishaw approaches the subject in the form of a zoetrope as this proto-cinematic optical illusion engages and seduces the viewer before they fully realise they are complicit in a scene of genocide. Its visual similarities to the form of a carousel allude to leisure and entertainment yet the cycle of characters present a frenzied orgy of violence.
Mat Collishaw, All Things Fall, 2014
© the artist, courtesy BlainSouthern
In another ambitious installation, Deliverance (2008), repeated projections onto walls coated in phosphorescent paint present ghostly figures that appear suddenly and then slowly fade, only to be replaced by another. Drawing on the news coverage of the 2004 Beslan siege, Collishaw makes reference to the seemingly insatiable appetite of the press for images of disaster and trauma and of the complex and often ambivalent ways in which we as viewers respond to these distressing scenes. Last Meal on Death Row, Texas (2011) is a stunning series of photographs, presented in the manner of Flemish still life painting. Such paintings often acted as a memento mori, a reminder of the inevitability of death and the transience of life on earth. For these works, Collishaw researched the last meals requested by prisoners on death row prior to execution.
The exhibition also includes works from the photographic series’ Single Nights (2007), Insecticides (2006-ongoing) and Catching Fairies (1996) as well as the sculptural series The Venal Muse (2012) in which brightly coloured flowers, presented in vitrines, reveal on close inspection evidence of disease and decay. Influenced by Baudelaire’s book of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal (1857), these works comment on man’s disregard for nature and the environment and the spectre of genetic manipulation.
Throughout his practice, Collishaw draws the viewer in with his seductive and compelling works, only to challenge us to look beneath the surface where darker and more malevolent forces are at play.
Concurrent with his exhibition in Walsall, Collishaw presents In Camera in the Gallery at the Library of Birmingham (18 September to 10 January). Commissioned by the Library and GRAIN with support from Arts Council England this new body of work was made in response to an archive of orphaned police crime scene images Collishaw discovered in the Library of Birmingham’s photography collection.
24 September – 22 November 2015
Palacio Quintanar, Segovia
Palacio Quintanar, the innovation centre for the design and the culture of Castilla y Leon, shows "In Dreams Begin monsters" by Harland Miller, one of Britain’s most important contemporary artists, of the generation of Young British Artists British art scene. Miller’s first solo exhibition in Spain takes place during Segovia’s Hay Festival*.
The exhibition title –In Dreams Begin Monsters – is also the name of one of the large-scale works in the exhibition – an oil painting from Miller’s black and gold series, which is reminiscent of the giant canvases of Penguin Book covers, which brought him international acclaim. In this series, he reinterpreted the original covers of Penguin books, adding ironic titles invented by him, highlighting the contradictions associated with love.
In parallel, the title refers to "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters"(1979), one etching from the recorded series “Los Caprichos” by Francisco Goya. The link is important because Miller, as Goya, use the text of a poetic and profound way as an explicit part of his paintings. And both share a love of melancholy, satire, humour and art historical references. The message you hope to convey is that rationality can be subverted by the imagination, fantasy, vulgarity or romance.
The works in the exhibition have been selected according to Miller pictorial poetry dialogue with the dramatic architecture of the palace: oil paintings on wood and large format prints as well as three of Miller’s bronze umbrella sculptures.
Harland Miller ‘Wentworth Street’ (2010)
© Harland Miller. Photo © Todd-White Art Photography Courtesy White Cube
The exhibition, curated by Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, also seeks to explore Miller's career as a writer.
*The tenth Hay Festival in Segovia will take place 24–27 September 2015. The festival brings writers and readers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events on five continents.