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Chant 2 (1967) by Bridget Riley

Chant 2 (1967) is one Bridget Riley’s earliest abstract paintings in full colour. When she reintroduced colour into her work in 1967, the artist left behind the forms that had appeared in her earlier black-and-white paintings and chose to work with the stripe instead.

Speaking of this choice, the artist comments: ‘I needed a neutral form to allow the energies of colour and relationships to develop on their own terms without being required to serve some other purpose, such as describing, identifying or even just ‘filling in’’.

In her colour paintings, Riley explores how different colours interact with and affect one another. While she was making studies for Chant 2, for example, the artist discovered that when red and blue stripes surround one another on a white background, they create two different kinds of violet, as well as – intermittently – a ‘fugitive’ yellow.

Bridget Riley, Chant 2, 1967 © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved

 

I had given up the complexities of form in my black-and-white paintings, but I found that the principles that lay behind them – contrast, harmony, reversal, repetition, movement, rhythm, etc – could be recast in colour and with a new freedom.
Bridget Riley, 2009

 

Bridget Riley — organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery — was at Hayward Gallery from 23 October 2019 until 26 January 2020.

A world renowned contemporary art space, Hayward Gallery hosts exhibitions featuring adventurous and influential artists all year round.

upcoming exhibitions

 

Kiss (1961) by Bridget Riley

Kiss (1961) is Bridget Riley’s first abstract painting. Riley describes Kiss and Movement in Squares, another black-and-white painting made at the same time, as ‘a very complete little group; almost a manifesto’. Both paintings came at the end of a period of great personal and artistic difficulty for the artist, during which she struggled to find her voice as a painter. Immediately before making these works, Riley had experimented with an entirely black painting. To her, that painting was a failure because it possessed no contrast, no opposition and therefore, as she saw it, no movement. By introducing contrast in the form of white in Kiss, Riley created tension, movement and rhythm – things that would continue to characterise her painting for the next six decades.

Bridget Riley, Kiss, 1961 © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved. Courtesy Bridget Riley Archive

 

I think they were beautifully aggressive. Contrast is the clash of cymbals, the exclamation mark, the strongest possible means. That I wanted; I felt very much at the time like making an extreme statement, or something violent, something that definitely did disturb.
Bridget Riley, 1995

 

Bridget Riley — organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery — was at Hayward Gallery from 23 October 2019 until 26 January 2020.

A world renowned contemporary art space, Hayward Gallery hosts exhibitions featuring adventurous and influential artists all year round.

upcoming exhibitions

 

Pink Landscape (1960) by Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley painted Pink Landscape (1960) shortly before her move into abstraction. To Riley, this work provides a ‘hinge’ between her early figurative works and her later abstract paintings, which she began the following year.

In Pink Landscape, Riley applied some of the techniques that she had recently acquired through studying the work of the French Impressionist painter Georges Seurat (1859–91). From Seurat, Riley had learnt about the interrelationship between colour, tone and contrast. Her engagement with Seurat, at its most intense in the late 1950s, has continued to inform her work ever since.

Bridget Riley, Pink Landscape, 1960 © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved

In 2007, Riley wrote about the circumstances that led to Pink Landscape, and the sensations that she had intended to capture:

‘In the summer of 1959 I was travelling in Italy, visiting museums and looking at works of art. I stopped near Siena, got out of the car and stood looking out over a great plain. It was an immense arid expanse shimmering in the heat. The sheer volume of light seemed to shatter everything in sight. I wanted to make a painting showing the disintegration of this landscape under the fierce sun. I made a line drawing of the general disposition of the hills across the plain, a tonal study and a colour analysis. Back in London, I worked on a painting that I hoped would recreate the experience outside Siena.’

 


 

 

Bridget Riley — organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery — was at Hayward Gallery from 23 October 2019 until 26 January 2020.

A world renowned contemporary art space, Hayward Gallery hosts exhibitions featuring adventurous and influential artists all year round.

upcoming exhibitions

 

Interview with artist Hicham Berrada

On the occasion of his solo exhibition Dreamscapes in Hayward Gallery’s HENI Project Space, Hicham Berrada discussed his kaleidoscopic sculptures, installations and video works with the exhibition’s curator Eimear Martin.

Your creative practice sits somewhere between art and science. How do you see your work in relation to scientific exploration? 

The aim of science is to produce new knowledge, whereas I am trying to disorient our points of reference. My practice is artistic, but it uses the tools and methods introduced by science, and the protocols of scientific experiments. Science has provided us with excellent tools for apprehending the real world, as well as for manipulating and giving form to reality. I use these tools as a visual artist to produce forms and images that do not have a specific scientific purpose.

 

Your solo exhibition Dreamscapes in Hayward Gallery’s HENI Project Space includes artworks made from a variety of materials and a wide range of techniques – from chemical reactions to digital simulations. Despite their differences, is there a common language to these works?

Yes. In my work, I always start by choosing a frame – which might be an aquarium, a terrarium or a digital space. This frame allows me to orchestrate the precise conditions I need in order to create a particular environment. Once the frame has been defined and the conditions are in place, the work appears of its own accord. I only sculpt the environment. Everything appears independently of me, whether they have been activated through chemical reactions or mathematical algorithms.

 

I try to use time as a material and consciously integrate it into my work. Time always acts on matter, even the most durable. Nothing is immutable.
Hicham Berrada

Your work operates on and engages with a variety of different time-scales – from events that usually take place over centuries, to chemical processes that occur in an instant. Is time an important element of your work? 

Time fascinates me, because it’s one of the only parameters that you can’t control. In a closed environment you can control the humidity, the pressure and everything else, but we are always subject to time. Since I can’t manipulate it in itself, I like to think up relative times for the spectator. For instance, watching Mineral Matrices (2017) for ten or twenty seconds, where the process of corrosion is accelerated by the conditions of the aquarium, allows you to observe a phenomenon that would normally take place over hundreds of years. I try to use time as a material and consciously integrate it into my work. Time always acts on matter, even the most durable. Nothing is immutable. 

 

The title of this exhibition, Dreamscapes, evokes both landscapes and dreams. Do you think of your work as a medium for exploring possible worlds?

The landscapes that I create in my works are at once familiar and strange. In Portent, cross-section (2019) and Mathematical Omens (2019), we are presented with abstract forms onto which we project landscapes, trees and living creatures. My work explores potential worlds. I think of my sculptures and video works as being a bit like the pencil rubbings made by the Surrealist painter and sculptor Max Ernst – they are abstract forms, taken directly from our material world, left open to individual interpretation. 

 

Hicham Berrada, Augures mathématiques (Mathematical Omens), 2019. Installation view of Activations, kamel mennour, Paris, 2019. © ADAGP Hicham Berrada. © Photo. archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London

Although your work draws on scientific processes, their titles evoke the divinatory, the supernatural and the mystical arts, as well as rituals and belief systems. Could you talk about this element of your work? Are you interested in science fiction, or futurology?

Through the evocation of the divinatory arts, I’m hoping to invite the viewer to interpret these abstract forms and to project their own thoughts onto them. For me, there is no direct reference to science fiction, but it is one possible interpretation. They definitely explore different relationships to time – I think of them as a kind of projection into imagined pasts and futures.

 

What kind of experience are you hoping to create for a visitor to this exhibition?

I came across a passage in a text once, which has stayed with me, although unfortunately I can no longer remember the author. He writes that while standing at his window one morning he saw something moving in the distance. Its colour and its shape were unusual and he struggled to understand what it was – a lion carrying another animal in its mouth? A sphinx? A chimera? Images continue to run through his mind, until suddenly a gust of wind puts an end to his reverie: it was a blanket covering hay bales on a cart. The writer goes back to work. This is the kind of mental state – your imagination keenly alert – that I would like to be able to bring about in the viewer. 

 


 

Hicham Berrada: Dreamscapes was at HENI Project Space, Hayward Gallery, 3 July – 18 August 2019.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences, an engaging and inspiring array of art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Header image: Hicham Berrada, Présage, tranche (Portent, cross-section), 2007-ongoing. © ADAGP Hicham Berrada. © Photo. Laurent Lecat. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London

 

Kiss My Genders: A conversation

Displayed at Hayward Gallery in the summer of 2019, Kiss My Genders was a group exhibition celebrating more than 30 international artists whose work explores and engages with gender identity.

In this roundtable discussion, three of the artists involved in the exhibition – Ajamu, Travis Alabanza and Victoria Sin – discuss play, intergenerational conversations and what community means to them with guest curator Vincent Honoré.

 

Vincent Honoré: So I guess we should start by talking about how each of you position yourselves within Kiss My Genders.

Victoria Sin: It’s really important to have these views and stories, narratives and representations, coming from the queer artists themselves, rather than having other people speak about our identities.

Ajamu: I like the title – Kiss My Genders; it’s about kissing my ass, basically! [Laughter] Straight away there is a certain energy, or an attitude. There is always a danger with talking about any kind of identity – even queer identity. I would maybe move ‘queer’ from an identity to a politics, as in, what is a queer ‘doing’? Then it becomes more messy, more murky, harder to articulate, because, actually, we inhabit many internal worlds simultaneously. We too often try to bring [that reality] back down to ‘identity’ to hold it, to articulate it. The exhibition operates in a different register – as an attitude or an energy, or something else.

Travis Alabanza: I’m so glad you started with the title, because that’s why I didn’t ignore the request to be involved in this. We just came out of a year of institutions doing stuff about gender – I was feeling fatigued! I was just so done with these stale conversations about gender; they would bring in these really exciting artists, but the institution would work its magic to make their work seem more mundane or serious about gender than I know those artists intended.

And what I love about Kiss My Genders is what you were saying – that same playfulness in the title, for me, invites the artists, the audience and the visitors to have that same playfulness too. I think that’s what’s been left out over these last two years – the playfulness that I and so many other trans, queer, gender non-binary artists have. The reason this feels important is that it’s an exciting way to say ‘Look, this thing is real – this exists in nightclubs, this exists on our record players, this exists when we’re dancing around.’

 

Martine Gutierrez, Demons, Tlazoteotl 'Eater of Filth,' p92 from Indigenous Woman, 2018 © Martine Gutierrez. Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York

 

Ajamu: That playfulness or that mischievousness is no less political; although it is not seen as political, because people assume it’s not doing that sociocultural work.

Travis Alabanza: It’s the most political thing I think we can do sometimes. People always see us and our conversations – especially with trans folk – in direct relation to violence. So when me and my friends play, I’m, like, ‘This is incredible, because you’re having to learn about us through us being joyous, being playful, pretending.’

Victoria Sin: One of my main things about drag is that it’s inherently playful. There’s always comedy, it’s always going to be a bit silly. You’re asking yourself to step outside of yourself and do something that you would not do in your day today. It’s like a tool that can be used to gain a better idea of, actually, how serious gender usually is, and that’s where the power is: making fun of gender.

I also think about this in relation to science fiction and fantasy in queerness, because these are places that you can say, ‘Actually, here’s a completely new world that is separate to the societal context that we’re in, and I’m gonna change these things, I’m gonna play with it.’ The whole point is that queerness is playful and it can change, and probably will, because who’s the same thing for the rest of their lives?
 

One of my main things about drag is that it’s inherently playful. There’s always comedy, it’s always going to be a bit silly ... It’s like a tool that can be used to gain a better idea of, actually, how serious gender usually is, and that’s where the power is: making fun of gender.
Victoria Sin

Ajamu: It makes me think about queer and punk. They’re both doing something very specific. They are mischievous, they are deviant. But now the word ‘queer’ has been co-opted for all forms of difference, right? I’m not sure that all forms of difference can be queer. That’s why I think I’m pushing back against ‘queer’ as an identity position, but not necessarily ‘queer’ as an attitude or an energy. I would actually like to reclaim the deviant queer, the dirty queer.

 

Luciano Castelli, Goldene Schallplatte 3, 1974 © Luciano Castelli. Courtesy the artist

 

Vincent Honoré: The exhibition focuses on recent works but also includes works from the late 1960s and early 1970s. The radical social changes initiated in the 1960s, with the rise of feminism, gay rights and unconventional notions of masculinity, as expressed in glam rock, disco or punk – and seen in the exhibition in the works by Luciano Castelli and Jimmy DeSana – paved the way for changes in how gender was socially perceived and is now considered. How do you connect with previous generations? Who are your ‘transcestors’?

Ajamu: The one artist I keep coming back to, decade after decade, is Pierre Molinier. There was an exhibition of his work at Cabinet Gallery in Brixton in 1993. I was totally bowled over by it, partly because it was confusing – I couldn’t work out where Pierre was in the image, and there are times his body has morphed. It not only played around with gender, it explored fetishism, voyeurism and spectatorship.

Victoria Sin: It’s important to have intergenerational conversations, because if you don’t, then you just start trying to reinvent the wheel every time – and why start all over again when you can learn from people before you?

 

Peter Hujar, Ethyl Eichelberger as Nefertiti (III), 1979 © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC. Courtesy The Peter Hujar Archive LCC; Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Ajamu: What are the things that you steal from another generation, and what then do you invent? What are the tensions?

Victoria Sin: I remember realising that I was an artist who was into gender, who was into science fiction, who was into sex and pornography. I found the work of Shu Lea Cheang, a Taiwanese artist. She made a queer, sci-fi porno called I.K.U. (2000). Finding her work for me was, like, ‘Oh my god, I’m not alone in this – here is another person who’s come before me that my work can be in dialogue with.’ I remember also thinking, ‘who are the drag queens that I can look to in the past?’ Then I looked back at Cantonese opera. This was a space where men would play women, women would play men; I found out that these two iconic actors called Yam Kim-fai and Bak Sheut-Sin were actually two actresses who played romantic lead roles opposite one another in 1960s films, and who maintained a ‘close’ friendship for over 40 years. These narratives, they do exist, and, really weirdly, sometimes they exist in very heteronormative contexts.

Travis Alabanza: I love Jo Clifford – I think she’s one of the best playwrights ever. I was looking for trans people that are grotesque; I hope she doesn’t mind me saying this but, among many other things, her work is sometimes gross. I was looking for a way that trans people can make performance that doesn’t feel like it needs to be pretty and attractive, and can be mean and horrible. Jo Clifford’s work was a real invitation to make the audience angry and upset, but it would be about their pain rather than hers.

 

Kiss My Genders
Jenkin van Zyl, Looners (2019). Installation view of Kiss My Genders at Hayward Gallery, 2019. Photo: Thierry Bal

 

Ajamu: For me it wasn’t just artists, but also people like Miss Gold walking around Brixton in the late 1980s – people who were never trans non-binary, but presented another kind of gender: Jamaican queens who were just walking around in Brixton, Chapeltown, Toxteth, just taking up space. Because I couldn’t work them out, I found them frightening. They didn’t apologise for presenting themselves in ways that would seem unacceptable in black culture, and gay culture too. It’s that confidence to be different – that energy – that I kind of took with me as part of my own politics. So now I say to myself, ‘I am now one of those queens that scares people’ [laughter].

Victoria Sin: A similar experience brought me to drag. Sneaking into gay bars when I was 17 in Toronto and seeing my first drag shows, seeing these queens who were using femininity – a queer femininity, a femininity that most people would say should not exist, or is existing in a way that’s very improper – but using it to take up space and command a room; I was absolutely infatuated. I wanted to be like that, and use femininity in a way that is not intended to be consumable from the viewpoint of a heteronormative, cisgender gaze.
 

It’s important to have intergenerational conversations, because if you don’t, then you just start trying to reinvent the wheel every time – and why start all over again when you can learn from people before you?
Victoria Sin

 

Vincent Honoré: This makes me think of Peter Hujar’s comment: ‘My work comes out of my life. The people I photograph are not freaks or curiosities to me. I like people who dare.’ It is about daring, as well as being part of a community. What is your relationship to your community, and how does it feed your art?

Victoria Sin: I wouldn’t be able to exist in any kind of healthy way without a community; I definitely would not be able to make the work that I’m making.

Travis Alabanza: I live with three other black, gender-nonconforming people, and my close circle of friends are all black, won’t-be-defined fags, freaks, whatever you want to call us – or we call ourselves freaks. That, for me, powers my work. But sometimes it’s hard to grasp what we mean by community in a physical form. Maybe four years ago, when I was first starting to make work in a ‘community’, I found it useful; then, recently, I’ve actually found it not so useful to see myself so directly linked to this thing that I can’t quite grasp. At the moment, my work is coming out of quite a selfish need. If that work then helps someone else or is useful in a community, it’s fine. Maybe that’s the sense of community that I enjoy: just like really supportive aunties, cheering each other on.

 


 

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Five things to know about Kiss My Genders

We’ve collated five things you need to know about Hayward Gallery’s 2019 summer exhibition Kiss My Genders.

1. This group exhibition explores and celebrates gender identity and gender fluidity

Kiss My Genders brings together over 100 artworks by more than 30 artists from all over the world, all of whom approach gender not as a fixed set of categories, but rather as something to be challenged, reconsidered and in some cases rejected altogether. Many but not all of the artists in this exhibition identify as gender non-binary and make use of the gender-neutral pronoun, they.

 

Catherine Opie, Pig Pen, 1993 © Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

 

2. Although the tone and approach of the works in this exhibition is often light, the questions they raise and the subjects they address are not

As well as addressing gender identity, many of the artworks in Kiss My Genders also touch on or explore subjects that include national and cultural identity, ethnicity and religious beliefs. Kent Monkman’s large-scale paintings feature his alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, a character invented as a way to ‘reverse the colonial gaze’; artist and AIDS activist Hunter Reynolds uses art as a tool to process trauma as well as transform it in his installation The Memorial Dress (1993); while Amrou Al-Kadhi explores the experience of being in drag as a person of Muslim heritage in their portrait Glamrou (2016) – the result of a collaboration with photographer Holly Falconer.

 

Installation view of Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery 2019. Photo: Thierry Bal

 

3. The exhibition includes artworks that range from ambitious video installations to small-scale drawings and intimate photographic prints

In approach as well as subject matter Kiss My Genders is characterised by multiplicity. While some of the artists in this exhibition – including Peter Hujar, Catherine Opie and Del LaGrace Volcano – make use of and subvert the tradition of photographic portraiture, others present hybrid artworks that defy categorisation, or make use of unconventional materials such as pharmaceutical testosterone, estrogen and melanin.

 

Peter Hujar, John Heys with Orange Breasts, 1983 © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC. Courtesy The Peter Hujar Archive LCC; Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

4. It also includes new commissions and site-specific works

Some of the artworks in Kiss My Genders have been developed specifically for this exhibition. Among them are Jenkin van Zyl’s new video installation, Looners (2019); At Her Dream’s Edge (2019) by Chitra Ganesh, a site-specific installation that explores femininity, sexuality and power and features transgressive bodies inspired by mythology and science fiction; and Victoria Sin’s A View from Elsewhere, Act 1, She Postures in Context (2019), a ‘multimedia fantasy’ exploring ‘desire, shame and the material queer body.’


 

Kiss My Genders
Installation view of Jenkin van Zyl, Looners (2019), in Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery

 

5. It doesn’t just take place inside Hayward Gallery – there are artworks outside the building, too

For Kiss My Genders, the poster for drag queen Joan Jett Blakk’s 1992-presidential campaign has been fly-posted across one of the exterior walls; Athi-Patra Ruga has transformed the windows of Queen Elizabeth Hall with a vinyl artwork that resembles stained glass; Ad Minoliti’s colourful, abstract designs can be seen on bollards, flags, windsocks across the Southbank Centre site as part of her site-wide installation Playcentre (2019); and a poem by artist and writer Tarek Lakhrissi – ‘Glory’ – adorns the steps of Southbank Centre’s Mandela Walkway.

 



Kiss My Genders was at Hayward Gallery, 12 June – 8 September 2019.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences, an engaging and inspiring array of art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

 

Header image: Installation view of Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery, courtesy of Hayward Gallery 2019. Photo: Thierry Bal

Interview with artist Kate Cooper

On the occasion of her solo exhibition in Hayward Gallery’s HENI Project Space, Kate Cooper discussed computer-generated imagery, viruses and forms of resistance with Assistant Curator Sophie Oxenbridge.

Your exhibition in HENI Project Space includes a number of new and recent videos that each feature a computer-generated female character. Why have you chosen to work with the same figure for so long?

There are actually a few different characters in these works, but they all function as the generic face of technological consumer capitalism. Initially, I was interested in the way that these figures are used to sell ideas or products or test out technology. I wanted to find a way to remove them from their usual context and repurpose them as material to work with. Later, I became more concerned with the way that they might refuse, disrupt or hijack the things that they are supposed to be colluding with – refusing the labour that is involved in representation, for example. This became the starting point for the work. 

 

Why have you chosen to focus on the female body and experience?

As well as what is at stake in the representation of the female body, I am interested in the way that female experience relates to capital and labour. Recently, we have witnessed a huge growth in the discourse about the way that female bodies are represented, circulated and disseminated – whether that’s in digital technology, advertising, pornography or through personas like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. For me, this also links to the work of Sadie Plant, a writer and philosopher who has attributed the invention of the computer to the traditionally feminine work of weaving. 

Kate Cooper, We Need Sanctuary, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.
Image courtesy of the artist

Your characters come in a basic framework that you import into animation software in order to manipulate. Sometimes these figures maintain their ‘perfect’ exteriors. At other times, they bruise, bleed, decay or move between exaggerated stereotypes of gendered bodies. How does the idea of perfection inform your practice?

I think there is a kind of banality in perfection. It’s also related to the way that we create and exploit value within our capitalist system. As an artist, I’m interested in the way that we can co-opt or sabotage these systems of ‘perfect’, ideal or highly desirable images. I often think about my work in terms of designer ‘knock-offs’ – fake goods that are made to imitate a branded item. These knock-off goods are at once a celebration of the ‘original’ and a way of changing or debasing the intended meaning of the product. 

The images in my work often function as a conceptual stand-in for forms of unrecognised labour frequently carried out by women, for example care work or housework. What does it mean to refuse to perform this kind of labour? And more importantly, what happens when your body is sick and physically unable to perform? The characters in these videos are engaged in a kind of conflict with themselves that has to do with their status as images. There’s something inherently ridiculous and surreal about making figures that are always meant to be performing become tired or ill and reject the things they have been created to do. In these works, I wanted to connect the idea of sickness with a form of refusal.

 

By re-modelling and manipulating your computer-generated characters, are you challenging your viewer’s ability to empathise with them?

The way that we respond to images has fundamentally shifted due to the fractured nature of technology and new distribution systems, and I think that the idea of images creating an empathetic response is problematic because of this. Empathy is particularly tricky in relation to these images because of the way that they are constantly moving back and forth between subject and object. It’s also related to authenticity, and generally I’m much more interested in engaging with and creating works from materials that are obviously inauthentic. 

In my work, I attempt to take an existing system or infrastructure and shift the focus in such a way that allows us to think about what is really going on. For me, the more important questions that these works raise are ‘what are the tools of image making now, and what do we want them to do?’. We don’t often think about how images such as the ones that appear in my work are made or circulated. To me, this gap in our knowledge and understanding is also something that relates to unseen or unrecognised forms of labour. 

Image courtesy of the artist

As indicated in their titles, for instance Symptom Machine or Infection Drivers, a number of your recent works are inspired by the way a virus acts in a human body. 

The relationship between disease and image making has a long history, particularly in the work of queer artists. I was thinking about the way that images themselves function like viruses, constantly spreading and multiplying. During my research, I looked at the way that some viruses and diseases behave, specifically the way that certain types of cancer can occupy hidden spaces within the body – so-called ‘sanctuary sites’ – where they can grow without being detected. This seemed to me to be the most dangerous and sophisticated form of structural behaviour, and I became increasingly interested in what this suggested as a form of resistance. I’m also fascinated by the idea that images might act autonomously.

 

Finally, could you talk about the way that sound and image work together in this exhibition?

I think about these videos as performances, and for this exhibition I wanted to find a way to make the experience of watching them intensely physical. Sound is an important part of this. For three of the videos (Infection Drivers, Sensory Primer and Symptom Machine) I collaborated with Soraya Lutangu (aka Bonaventure) – a producer who uses samples in her work in a similar way to the way that I use found imagery. Soraya’s soundtracks consist of bodily sounds mixed with samples, mixed with elements that she composes. For me, these soundtracks bring with them questions about the history and nature of affect in moving image, as well as forms of non-verbal communication. 

 


 

Kate Cooper: Symptom Machine was at HENI Project Space, Hayward Gallery, 15 May – 23 June 2019.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences, an engaging and inspiring array of art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Five things to know about Kader Attia

The Museum of Emotion is Kader Attia’s first survey exhibition in the UK. Find out more about Attia’s poetic and politically engaged work below. 

He describes himself as an activist as well as an artist

Over the past twenty years, Kader Attia has made sculptures, installations and video works that engage with urgent political issues, including police violence, the treatment of immigrant populations and the legacies of colonialism. ‘In terms of the ethical aspect of art, I have to say that we’re living in a crucial time. Visually, verbally, everything has to be used’.

 

He’s fascinated by the concept of repair

For Attia, repair is both a physical and a symbolic act. The Museum of Emotion features objects that have been ‘repaired’ by the artist using techniques and materials from non-Western cultures, as well as videos and large-scale installations that explore different attitudes towards physical and psychological injury. His installation The Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures (2012) brings together hundreds of objects, among them repaired African masks and archival photographs of wounded First World War soldiers. 

 

His ambitious artworks often involve detailed research

Some of Attia’s artworks, including The Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures (2012) and his video Reflecting Memory (2016), involve detailed research. This research takes different forms, but includes conversations with a wide range of individuals, from medical professionals to musicians and traditional healers. ‘When I make my videos, I go out and meet with all kinds of people’, Attia has said. ‘I’m a storyteller, and a storyteller who tells the story of the others’. 

 

Installation view of Shifting Borders, Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion at Hayward Gallery. Copyright the artist, courtesy Hayward Gallery 2019. Photo: Linda Nylind

 

He wants to start conversations, and provoke political debate

Conversation and debate are hugely important to Attia. Speaking of his work, he has said ‘What interests me is to produce things using very simple forms, so as to lead people in the direction of genuine exchanges of views – a real, fundamental dialogue’. In 2016, the artist set up La Colonie, a space for politically engaged debate in a multicultural neighbourhood in central Paris. Over the past three years, La Colonie has hosted discussions on topics including re-appropriation and colonial architecture, and has featured a wide range of speakers including the philosopher Bruno Latour. 

 

He wants us to think about how powerful emotions – among them joy, anger or sorrow – might bring about positive social change 

In this exhibition, Attia explores the complicated role that emotion plays in all areas of our lives. In works such as The Field of Emotion (2018–19), he explores the ways in which dictators and demagogues stir up and exploit strong emotions, and in The Museum of Emotion as a whole asks us to consider how and whether powerful emotions might heal rather than create conflict, and what role the museum might play in that process. 

 


 

Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion was at Hayward Gallery from 13 February until 6 May 2019

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

 

Header Image: Installation view of Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion at Hayward Gallery. Copyright the artist, courtesy Hayward Gallery 2019. Photo: Linda Nylind

 

Adapt to Survive: Notes from the Future

A free HENI Project Space exhibition of works that addressed how our world might look and feel in the future
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18 Apr 2018 – 11 Jun 2018
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exhibition
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Cornelia Parker: the art of printing with light and glass

Cornelia Parker: One Day This Glass Will Break | Hayward Touring Exhibition

The acclaimed british sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker has long been fascinated with the physical properties of objects and materials. This can be seen in her recent series of works which make up the Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition, One Day This Glass Will Break.

The series sees the artist transforms the three dimensional into the two dimensional by placing ordinary objects directly onto photographic plates and exposing them to ultraviolet light.

In this interview, recorded for the Southbank Centre in 2017, the artist discusses how this approach was initially inspired by the work of the pioneering Victorian photographer Henry Fox Talbot, and explains the process that lies behind these fascinating photogravures.

 

For me, it's always about truth to materials. I’m not trying to depict something, or represent something; I want it just to be itself
Cornelia Parker

Twenty large-scale photogravures from three series of Cornelia Parker's experiments in photography and printmaking – Thirty Pieces of Silver (Exposed) (2015), One Day This Glass Will Break (2015) and Fox Talbot’s Articles of Glass (2017) – make up the Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition of her work.

The exhibition is scheduled to travel to Jersey Arts Centre in St Helier in September 2020.

more about the exhibition

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