CHARLIE SMITH london: YOUNG GODS | 2010 London Graduates - 16 July 2010 to 7 Aug 2010
Nika Neelova 'The Night Also Falls'
Charcoal, burnt wood & rope
Dimesnions variable 2010
CHARLIE SMITH london is pleased to announce its forthcoming survey show of selected recent graduates from the art schools of London.
Gallery Director Zavier Ellis will curate a group show featuring the best of London's 2010 graduate and postgraduate shows, promising to offer a glimpse of the future of contemporary art. Known for identifying rising talent early, Ellis' previous selections from final shows include Jennifer Allen, David Blandy, Oliver Clegg, Simon Cunningham, Tim Ellis, Tessa Farmer, Sam Jackson, Monica Ursina Jäger, Annie Kevans, Peter Jacob Maltz, Sarah McGinity and Douglas White, all of whom have gone onto achieve notable success with galleries and collectors and many have begun to work with international museums.
Consisting of photography, installation, performance, video and painting ‘Young Gods’ promises to be an exciting and essential overview of current emerging practice.
I am interested in an encounter of incoherence. Objects and events passed through the image have many voices that begin to entwine, weave and demarcate the certainty of thresholds, boundaries and hierarchies. Integral to my thought is the point where what is seen becomes uprooted in materiality and nature, colliding the surreal with an objective realism, the banal with the absurd, the empirical with the poetic, the great with the impotent. These structures mark an event that took place, a decision to pause, a reason to build, an invitation to perform but without any direct obligation. They gesture to an alternative habitation, the making of a space perhaps or an action rather than representing something in themselves.
“I am looking for 2 male adult models to be part of an amateur adult movie to be made with one female adult model. No previous experience necessary…” After placing an advert on craiglist hundreds of applicants were put through a process of elimination. The audition was set up to both emulate the structure of an adult movie audition, but also to subvert the general gender roles. From two days of auditions six finalists have been chosen and short excerpts of their auditions are shown here. Two of these finalists will be chosen to be part of an ongoing project to direct, star in and produce my own adult movie that challenges the general assumptions of gender roles in the adult movie industry.
I respond to the influence our culture has over the way we view ourselves in relation to themes of exploitation, power and desire. I continue to challenge existing beliefs and stereotypes within a gendered, political and cultural context. I explore this in relation to social reference. I am currently exploring the boundaries between performance and sculpture. I work primarily with performance as I believe it gives an immediacy and intimacy with the viewer that sculpture alone cannot possess. In being self aware I understand the object of the gaze and I return it with a punch.
The intention within my practice is to explore the role of the artist/activist through performance and video, negotiating the psychological terrain of taking a critical outsider political stance, whilst living within the current dominant culture. ‘Riot’ was produced after experiencing the G20 demonstrations at The Bank of England, which felt like a huge staged spectacle. Police were monitoring and recording activists who were in turn recording police, creating an endless loop of documentation. ‘Safe Riot’ addresses the contemporary state of protest, which can often seem like a futile gesture, and represents the endless cycle of civil unrest that is experienced 2nd hand through the media’s lens.
Taking its origins in the concept of the ruin, my work focuses on the effort to unearth the past to reveal the fragments of a larger history. Yet any restoration of the past in a way equals its destruction and when uncovered these fragments are irreversibly changed. They enter the light of the wrong day being distorted by the failure of history and the loss of memory to which we are everlastingly committed. My personal history is embedded into a collective and reclaimed history narrated through the evocation of remembered architectural elements and spaces, houses and rooms that I used to live in. Fragments of these places are then rebuilt from materials salvaged and rescued from other places or histories, therefore becoming structures that are emblematic of both transience and persistence over time. These decaying skeletal installations are pointing to a lost and invisible whole being somewhere on the threshold between the impossibility of remembering and the necessity of forgetting. They become the embodiment of a sense of loss and the defeat of commemoration.
My work explores the tension in the individual between self and social interface along with the mechanisms of control that mediate between the two. I combine both conceptual and aesthetic rigour across a range of media to investigate the systems that structure and determine social behaviour, and through the re-contextualization of familiar objects and situations, I invite subtle shifts in meaning. These realignments suggest hidden possibilities and undermine some of the deep-rooted preconceptions that frame our relation to reality, while also questioning the viability of those frameworks.
My work investigates the relationship between sculpture and photography, creating works that examine texture, the psychology of space and identity, both collective and individual. In ‘Control’ a stool is a plinth and a half-dressed figure, that is the artist, becomes a sculpture. With the subject's eyes to the floor, this 'performance' of a figure in isolation was photographed and archived for future reference. Paired with a lyric from the Janet Jackson song 'If' the image becomes a meditation on sexuality and unrequited love (named after a song by Janet Jackson).
This work is part of my ongoing exploration of the thresholds of beauty and perversity. Taking a particular interest in the contemporary body cult, I work with the binaries of the natural and the artificial, the healthy and the unhealthy, the desirable and the abject. I use the body as a formal motif - geometric forces displace the social. This opens up a rich field of formal play in the paintings as I choreograph rhythms, false symmetries and distortions. This particular distortion is the stretch, through which we strive for purity of body, mind and spirit and a closer connection to nature.
This work is an exploration of rhythm, movement, dance and sound, which has been born out of an obsession with global underground music culture and the cities that give birth to these new forms of musical expression. In creating an abstract installation that deals with the more formal traditional qualities of space, light, form and structure, I begin to question how we inhabit our cities and the space around us, and how architecture forms and shapes the city, for the better or for the worse.