On 29th October 2015 my class and our tutor Nigel Grimmer met in London St Pancras International from where we started our exhibition visit journey.
We first went to the Lisson Gallery, situated in Central London, where Adam Bloomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s work were shown to the public. Two artists were exhibited the HD video “Rudiments”.
‘Broomberg & Chanarin’s debut solo exhibition at Lisson Gallery consists of new photographic, moving image and performative works that collectively explore tensions between discipline and chance, precision and chaos, empathy and the involuntary pleasure of watching the pain of others. Central to the show is a new film work, Rudiments (2015) in which the artists have collaborated with a group of young army cadets at a military camp on the outskirts of Liverpool. Whether Broomberg & Chanarin have staged the scenes we observe or have simply documented the camp’s routine practice remains unclear. The young soldiers-in-training are seen marching, drumming and obeying instructions – enacting a collective, authoritarian form of obedience – with varying degrees of success.
The absurd and disturbing introduction of a ‘bouffon’ – a dark clown whose performance teeters on vulgarity – radically challenges the martial codes supposedly being taught and interrupts their carefully choreographed routines. The children also learn how to pratfall, ‘play dead’ or deliver convincing blows to one another, performing comic actions that are seemingly at odds with the hierarchical structures of the army. Broomberg & Chanarin’s film explores the experience of empathy or the enjoyment of pain in others through formative moments of childhood and innocence of early youth, as well as highlighting the importance of cadets to the armed services and especially the historical role of the drummer boy in battle. The work’s title refers to the 40 rudiments that form the technical foundation of percussive music – including rolls, strokes and paradiddles – while the soundtrack is propelled by a dramatic, improvised score devised for the drums by the American musician Kid Millions (also known as John Colpitts).’
‘Accompanying the film are two large-scale photographic series, the first of which depicts bullets that have collided head-on and fused in mid-air. These improbable, perhaps even slapstick objects were originally found on the battlefields of the American Civil War and are said to have effectively saved the lives of two soldiers. For their second new series, Broomberg & Chanarin have photographed military grade prisms, shards of optical glass that are used in the sights of precision weaponry, but which also relate to the lenses found in the same photographic apparatus they use. Violence is transmitted through these materials: collided lumps of lead and the shear edges of crystal glass. The exhibition also featured a live performance with two drummers, one snare drum, one chair, two clocks and a lead carpet, in which the drummers play a drum roll for the 6-week duration of the exhibition, without interruption.’
Another artist Ryan Gander exhibited the project called “Fieldwork”.
‘Occupying the entire back gallery, the titular work Fieldwork 2015 opens a window onto the revolving touchstones of Gander’s art. Objects from the artist’s collection – each seemingly found but on closer inspection uniquely crafted (for instance, a National Trust sign protecting ‘Culturefield’, Gander’s imaginary artistic utopia) – rotate round the room on a vast, walled-off conveyer belt. Views of these items gliding past momentarily (a baseball bat covered in nails, a pair of dead pigeons, a chocolate bar swoosh…) are granted via an aperture in the gallery’s wall, creating a memory game of strange associations and a prism of connections (a chess set, a tortured teddy bear, a dead chick served on a plate with a napkin signed by Picasso…) through which to consider the rest of the exhibition.’
In Serpentine Gallery we visited two exhibitions.
‘This major survey show at the Serpentine Gallery highlighted Jimmie Durham’s multi-dimensional practice, including sculpture, drawing and film. Alongside new sculptures and key installations, the exhibition showed a group of early works that had never been exhibited in the UK.
Running concurrently at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery was an exhibition of American video artist Rachel Rose. Through opposite techniques and materials, both artists draw on subjectivity and personal history, cultural context and ecology to weave seemingly disparate narratives into their work.’
‘Within the last few years, Rachel Rose has emerged as a video artist who creates visually poetic and multi-layered narratives. By utilising complex audio and video editing techniques, Rose explores the interwoven nature of history, memory and geography, and tackles the urgent ecological issues of humanity’s changing relationship to the natural world and the advancement of technology. The exhibition Palisades is a site-specific installation centred around two of Rose’s recent video works, Palisades in Palisades (2014) and A Minute Ago (2014), as well as a new sound piece, an extension of the soundtrack from Palisades in Palisades. The exhibition transforms the historic building of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery into an immersive, polyphonic environment.’
The last exhibition visit was in Barbican Gallery where the artist Eddie Peake show his project called ‘The Forever Loop’.
The videos shown contain a lot of sexuality, the model/sculpture body in a position very suggestive, also there were also two performers where they were naked.
‘London-based artist Eddie Peake combines live performance with sculpture, video, installation and painting to create an energetic and erotic gallery experience. Sexuality and desire are constant themes in Peake’s live performances that typically foreground the naked body.
The Forever Loop presents a choreographed, looped performance that weaves in and out of synchronisation with a video of past performances, a home movie from his childhood and a film shot at the studio of koollondon.com. Set against a backdrop of large scale installations from maze-like, plastered wall structures that frame both the viewer and performer to a raised scaffold walkway, the performers move in and out of the spaces taking the viewer on a dramatic journey, while a sheer suited roller skater glides fluidly through the space. The installation is populated with surreal objects Including a cast of Perspex bears, brightly coloured whale bones, a metal figure with an acrylic box head filled with autobiographical items, as well as delicate bronze pipettes nestled on shelves with plaster sculptures.’
It was intense trip where we were explored various notions of performative. Thank you Nigel Grimmer.