Keith Piper: The Banker’s Bones


‘Unearthing the Banker’s Bones’ is a work that mobilises tropes from science fiction as a means of examining contemporary anxieties surrounding environmental change, migration and globalisation.

The act of presenting a speculative view of the future as a means of deconstructing the present has long been a staple of science fiction. ‘Unearthing the Bankers Bones’ references the dystopian speculations of Octavia Butler and Mary Shelly as key examples of the literary projection of contemporary anxieties into an imagined future.

The project is comprised of an installation of three large-scale synchronised video projections alongside sculptural objects displayed in exhibition vitrines.

Each projection is composed of an evolving collage of filmed, drawn, painterly and animated elements through which we are taken to a series of reference points within classic science fiction texts. This journey is revealed through the literary reflections of an anonymous narrator who describes the emergence of an illusive hooded ‘trickster’ figure, eventually given the name ‘Surmanakin’ in reference to the work of the ‘Islamo-futurist’ poet Jalaluddin Nuriddin. Depicted as a shape-shifting Android, this ‘trickster’ figure acts as a time travelling cypher weaving a pathway through the contemporary social and political landscape. In the course of this journey this ‘trickster’ encounters another illusive allegorical figure know only as ‘The Banker’ It is from this character that the work takes its title.

www.keithpiper.info

Francesca Woodman (1958-1981)

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Francesca Woodman, Space2, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976
Gelatin silver print, 13.7 x 13.3 cm

At the age of thirteen Francesca Woodman took her first self-portrait. From then, up until her untimely death in 1981, aged just 22 she produced an extraordinary body of work (some 800 photographs) acclaimed for its singularity of style and range of innovative techniques. Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design, from 1975 – 1979, receiving a grant to spend a year in Rome to continue her studies. Whilst there she produced an extensive body of work and had her first solo exhibition at a bookshop and gallery specializing in Surrealism and Futurism.

Since 1986, her work has been exhibited widely and has been the subject of extensive critical study in the United States and Europe. Woodman is often situated alongside her contemporaries of the late 1970s such as Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke, yet her work also foreshadows artists such as Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin and Karen Finley in their subsequent dialogues with the self and reinterpretations of the female body.

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Born in 1958 in Denver, Colorado, Francesca Woodman lived and worked in New York and Italy until her death in 1981. Since 1986 her work has been exhibited widely. Significant solo presentations of Woodman’s work include Francesca Woodman at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2011-12), which subsequently toured to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012); Francesca Woodman: Retrospective at the Sala Espacio AV, Murcia, touring to SMS Contemporanea, Siena (both 2009); Francesca Woodman: Photographs at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (2003) and Francesca Woodman at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris (1998), which subsequently toured to Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1998); Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal (1999); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (1999); Centro Cultural TeclaSala, L’Hospitalet, Barcelona (1999-2000); Carla Sozzani Gallery, Milan, (2001); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2001) and PhotoEspana, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid (2002). Woodman’s work is represented in the collections of major museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Detroit Institute of Arts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Tate/National Galleries of Scotland.

francesca-woodman-1958-1981

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http://www.victoria-miro.com

Idris Khan

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The World of Perception, 2010
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)

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The World of Perception, 2010 – detail
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)

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every… Nicholas Nixon’s Brown Sisters, 2004
digital C-print, 43-1/4 x 52-1/8 inches (framed)

Idris Khan transforms the conceptual art of appropriation into an elegant and substantial meditation on the act of creativity. Appropriating icons of literature, music, and art, Khan methodically layers his material, whether it is Beethoven’s symphony, Milton’s Paradise Lost, or Bernd and Hilla Becher’s stylized sculpture of water towers. The process allows the artist to tease out certain areas adjusting the source material so that the soul of the piece is manifested in Khan’s accreted interpretation. For example, in Struggling to Hear… After Ludwig van Beethoven Sonatas, 2005, Beethoven’s entire series of sonatas becomes a dense wall of near blackness; a virtual illustration of the composer’s deafness.

Khan’s work tests our experience of these other art forms; words and music are experienced sequentially, however the artist compresses time visually. Photographic iconography such as Bernd and Hilla Becher’s water tower series—a body of work based on the inherent nature of recurring form—layer upon one another and ultimately create a ghostly animation describing the ‘essence’ of the form rather than each individual tower.

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every…William Turner postcard from Tate Britain, 2004
47-1/2 x 62-1/4 inches (framed)

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every… Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder, 2004
80 x 65 inches

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Born in Birmingham in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Gothenburg Konsthall, Sweden (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (2009), and K20, Düsseldorf (2008). His work has been exhibited at Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg (2008), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2006), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), and the Helsinki Kunsthalle (2005). His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, among others. Most recently, Khan was commissioned to design a permanent public monument for the new Memorial Park in Abu Dhabi. The sculpture will be unveiled in late November 2016.

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Caravaggio… The final years, 2006. 101” x 68”

https://fraenkelgallery.com

Corinne Vionnet

Works from Corinne Vionnet

Works from Corinne Vionnet

Photo Opportunities, Corinne Vionnet, 2005-2013

We travel, we see a monument, we take a picture. Framing sites of mass tourism in our viewfinders, we create photographic souvenirs that are integral to the touristic experience. Conducting keyword searches of famed monuments in photo sharing web sites, Swiss / French artist Corinne Vionnet culled thousands of tourists’ snapshots for her series Photo Opportunities. Weaving together numerous photographic perspectives and experiences, the artist builds her own impressionistic interpretations – ethereal structures which float gently in a dream-like haze of blue sky.

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www.corinnevionnet.com

Zbigniew Libera: Positives

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Positives, 2002-2003
Series of staged photographs, printed and reproduced photographically

Series of photographs restaging the famous historical press photos in a “positive version” – repeating the original in terms of composition, but changing the characters and the general meaning of the captured events. “The series is another attempt at playing with trauma” Libera comments, “we are always dealing with memorized objects, not the objects themselves. I wanted to employ this mechanism of seeing and remembering and touch upon the phenomenon of memory’s afterimages. This is how we actually perceive those photographs [“Positives”] – the harmless scenes trigger flashbacks of the brutal originals. I have picked the “negatives” from my own memory, from among the images I remembered from the childhood.”

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Zbigniew Libera is one of the most interesting and important Polish artists. His works – photographs, video films, installations, objects and drawings – piercingly and subversively (in an intellectual way) play with the stereotypes of contemporary culture. His shocking video works from the 80s (among others “Intimate Rites” and “Mystical Perseverance”) preceded “body art” by 10 years. In mid-90s, Libera began to create “Correcting Devices” – objects which are modifications of already existing products – objects of mass consumption (among others “Universal Penis Expander” and “Body Master. A Play Kit For Children”). He also designs transformed toys – works that reveal the mechanisms of upbringing, education and cultural conditioning, the most famous of which is “Lego Concentration Camp”. From that moment on, he is one of the pillar of the so-called “critical art”, also in the institutional sense – despite the development of his career he is still closely connected with the independent circles. In recent years he has also been preoccupied with photography, especially the specificity of press photography and the ways in which the media shape our visual memory and manipulate the image of history (works from the series “Positives” and “Masters”, 2003).

http://raster.art.pl

Lei Lei + Thomas Sauvin > Beijing: Recycling and memory

Beijing Silvermine is a project by french photographer Thomas Sauvin to recover the photographic records of the people of Beijing after the Cultural Revolution, from 1985 when photography (mainly 35 mm) became popular in China, until about 2005, when it began to give way to digital photography.

For several years, Sauvin collected negatives (many of them never printed), recovered from a recycling plant on the outskirts of Beijing. After an exhaustive selection and digitization, he has created a fascinating archive with over half a million 35 mm negatives that has become an intriguing record of the public and private lives of the inhabitants of that city. Over the past 20 years, China has experienced unprecedented economic liberalization, which has completely redefined the way people in its cities thrive, travel, eat and enjoy themselves.

This collection of material from anonymous sources has served as the input for editing a collection of photo books and exhibitions, in which Sauvin provides an authorial contribution to the reinterpretation of a form of appropriation, which has even been the starting point for collaborative pieces such as the animation by chinese visual artist Lei Lei, who selected 3,000 of these images to create an audiovisual piece entitled precisely Recycled in 2013. Director Emiliad Guillermine produced a short documentary that bears witness to Sauvin’s experience and his meticulous collection, sorting, editing and digitization of the thousands of images he recovered.

Thus, Sauvin’s work brings us closer to part of the collective memory of current Chinese society, enabling us to understand how it has changed its cultural dynamics in recent years, while providing a new perspective on the experience of the visual appropriation and recycling at a time when the mass production and consumption of images leads us to understand the importance, but above all the enormous authorial possibilities of the editor and curator to generate new discourses.

Thomas Sauvin (Francia) A photography collector and editor who lives in Beijing. Since 2006 he exclusively works as a consultant for the UK-based Archive of Modern Conflict, an independent archive and publisher, for whom he collects Chinese works, from contemporary photography to period publications to anonymous photography. Sauvin has had exhibitions of his work, and published through Archive of Modern Conflict.

Lei Lei (China) An up-and-coming multimedia Chinese animation artist with his hands on graphic design, illustration, short cartoon, graffiti and music also. In 2009 he got a master’s degree from Tsinghua University. In 2010, his film This is LOVE was shown at Ottawa International Animation Festival and awarded The 2010 Best Narrative Short. In 2013 his film Recycled was selected by Annecy festival and was the Winner Grand Prix shorts – non-narrative at Holland International Animation Film Festival. In 2014 he is the Jury of Zagreb / Holland International Animation Film Festival. and he was the winner of 2014 asian cultural council grant.

http://zonezero.com