Allen Grubesic – Staring at the Sun

March 7th, 2014 § 0

Opening 8/3 at 4-8pm
Allen Grubesic – Staring at the Sun

Dante’s Purgatorio: a mountain divided into terraces of suffering and spiritual growth that lead up to its final destination, the Earthly Paradise. In this allegory Dante describes a climb and illuminates the nature of sin through examples of vice and virtue. For him all sin arises from love. The first three terraces consist of sins that are caused by the perversion of love through the harm of others. Pride is the first of these perversions.

There is a play with references and mythology at the center of Allen Grubesic’s first solo exhibition, Staring At The Sun, at Gallery Niklas Belenius. One of the works has the same title as the exhibition and consists of a series of brass hooks. Brass is a dubious and paradoxical gold-like metal, which has been used since prehistoric times. It has become a symbol of class for interior design connected to the Swedish bourgeoisie. Alternatively, brass is an icon of tackiness. Here it excels and signifies multiple layers of dreams, goals and hope. The title is a reference to both ambition and hubris. Icarus’ over-confidence made him the sun, dreaming and planning, while being blinded by it: unaware of the consequences.

Just like the uncertainty of Purgatorio, as a middle-point between Heaven and Hell, Allen Grubesic creates his own state of ambiguity. There are paradoxical sets of feelings being channeled: fear and courage, apathy and excitement, hopelessness and hope, failure and success, melancholy and hysteria. Pride stands out, being at the core of them all. Dante describes the first terrace as a place where proud souls purge their sin by being surrounded by beautiful sculptures expressing humility. Grubesic similarly forces us into contemplation by seeing ourselves in our ownsin when he surrounds us with it, bringing us into a state of self-confrontation.

Allen Grubesic (b. 1974) graduated from The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 2003. He has exhibited his work at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Kiasma in Helsinki, Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm, Lautom in Oslo, Laviola Banks Gallery in New York, Maria Stenfors Gallery in London; to name a few. Solo shows include Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Natalia Goldin Gallery in Stockholm, Alida Ivanov Gallery in Stockholm, Charles Bank Gallery in New York.

/Alida Ivanov

Bigert & Bergström – The Weather War – Barbara Thumm, Berlin

January 24th, 2014 § 0

Bigert & Bergström
The Weather War

01 February – 08 March 2014
Opening: 31 January 2014, 7-9pm

Together with the Canadian storm chaser and meteorologist Mark Robinson, Bigert & Bergström travelled to the Midwest in the US, to film and document the increasingly hostile weather patterns that are developing today. The exhibition The Weather War centers on B&B’s attempt to intercept a tornado using a device called the Tornado Diverter.

“The idea of creating a protective shield against tornadoes was formulated in 2004 by the Russian scientist Vladimir Pudov, at the Institute for Experimental Meteorology, Obninsk. In 2007, we travelled to Obninsk to interview him for our film, The Weather War. He had just retired from his position at the institute and no longer had the funds needed to further develop his invention. We were intrigued by the scope of his idea of being able to affect the most powerful weather phenomenon on earth, and decided to take up the challenge and build it for him.” [Bigert & Bergström, excerpt from field-guide The Storm, 2012]

In the middle of the gallery the Tornado Diverter machine is presented on a custom built trailer. It is flanked by a group of sculptures and objects extracted from the film. The film itself is projected inside a white bunker-like cubicle juxtaposing a big black sphere, titled The Problem, resting in the other corner of the gallery space.

Ever since their first large-scale performance/installation Biosphere III, in 1990, Bigert & Bergström has been obsessed with the climate and its extremes. The weather – both a trivial theme for petty conversation and a life threatening natural force – is central in their art. And they use it to pinpoint our currently exposed position living in a slowly heating lab-maze.

The film The Weather War tracks the history and contemporary struggle, between man and man-made climate, as we approach the tipping point. In a blend of land art performance and road movie, artist duo Bigert & Bergström travel to the US tornado belt with their special machine-sculpture, the Tornado Diverter. The goal: To stop a tornado. Along the way, we see historical examples of how the science of meteorology developed in symbiosis with military goals and how these visions evolved into modern ideas of geo-engineering. Controversial ideas with socio-political consequences, spotlighting the big question of who is really entitled to modified weather.

In a larger perspective, the exhibition touch on the problems faced worldwide due to global climate change. How do we behave to meet those challenges? Do we adapt? Or do we wage war against increasingly aggressive weather phenomena? Bangladesh is building protective walls against coming floods. China shoots rockets into threatening clouds. And in Italy, anti-hail cannons are fired to protect the year’s wine harvest.

Evan Roth – Memory

January 18th, 2014 § 0

Evan Roth

Opening 25.1, 15-19

In 1969, the Whole Earth Catalog declared that “we are as gods and we might as well get good at it”. It aimed to provide the reader with tools “to shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested”.

The artist Evan Roth works in the same anti-authoritarian do-it-yourself spirit as the 1960′s American counterculture. A spirit he shares with open source programmers as well as graffiti writers and Anonymous activists.

Roth’s works are tools for empowerment aiming to modify our physical and digital surroundings by misusing and parodying social structures, technical devices and popular culture phenomena. Among his projects is the transformation of an airport X-ray machine to a medium for sending

messages to security staff, and a replica of the TED talks stage, which is open for everyone to use.

In Memory, Evan Roth stages a confrontation between human memory and the unconscious of the Internet.

Our technical devices remember much more than we want them to. The computer cache memories register all our movements in digital space. Roth turns these memories inside out and brings forth a manifold of hidden stories. Thereby he is letting us view ourselves with the indifferent eyes of technology.

The exhibition is an archive of an archive, with portraits of various person’s daily online activities, a 42 meter long vinyl print with four months of Internet history compressed to a sculpture, laser etchings and the thoughtful little book Since You Were Born, dedicated to the artist’s daughter. The book can be read in two opposite ways: as a beautiful story about the relation between a father and his new-born child, and as a reflexion of our intimate relationship with the web.

Memory is Paris-based artist Evan Roth’s first solo exhibition in Sweden. His work is in the permanent collection of Museum of Modern Art NY and has been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Tate and the front page of Youtube. Roth is a co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab and The F.A.T. Lab.

Signal to Noise* – Nina Canell, Robert Kinmont, Linda Matalon, Rivane Neuenschwander, Amalia Pica, Sophie Tottie and Jan Uprichard

December 4th, 2013 § 1

An exhibition curated by Stefanie Hessler
With a text by Jacquelyn Davis

opening 14/12 16-20
until 19/1

Communication is at the basis of cognition and the functioning of individuals and systems at large. Conveying a message that is understood leads to action and to reproducing the system that transmitted it. Cells constantly send and receive signals. If they do not send impulses, transmit them too late, or respond without having received a signal, the process results in disease or malfunction, triggering another regulatory process aimed at reconstitution.

Nevertheless, systems that constantly reproduce existing patterns impede change at a structural level. Just as language is a closed function based on rules that are nearly impossible to imagine differently from within, the looped feedback of sending and responding can hardly be interrupted productively. Purposefulness and self-regulatory systems from technophile future visions of the 20th century have led to self-management and structures that lack the faculty of imagination, but are aimed at reproducing the existing.

The exhibition “Signal to Noise” proposes a methodology that considers irrational successions, illogical communications, and fatal non sequiturs. It asks what happens if we intentionally do things in another than the logical or best possible way, disrupting the established forms of response, reaction, and linear communication. By not only stepping forward or backward, but sideward, the exhibition proposes to consider communication as untargeted, inconsistent, and non-decipherable, but open for contagion. In the same way that particles in quantum tunnelling can pass through barriers that they classically cannot surmount, it proposes defying constitutive principles and thereby becoming unreadable, unquantifiable, and unusable for the feedback-generating system.

* Signal to Noise is a measure used in science to indicate the quality of a desired signal and its proportional ratio compared to the level of background noise. It refers to the degree of useful information measured against disturbances and irrelevant data, be it in sound, biochemical signalling, or spam in online forums.

Stefanie Hessler

Ilja Karilampi – Medulla Oblongata at The Woodmill GP

December 4th, 2013 § 1

Woodmill GP is pleased to present a new outdoor commission by Swedish artist Ilja Karilampi. This wall painting will be on display at Woodmill’s Bermondsey location until February 2014.