Exhibition

Best Laid Plans

11 Nov 2010 – 23 Jan 2011

Drawing Room

London, United Kingdom

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An exhibition, book and symposium that will involve international artists: Matei Bejenaru, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Janice Kerbel, Marie Lund, Marjetica Potrc, Paul Rooney, Katya Sander, Ultra-red. The artists in this exhibition use different forms of drawing to create models for alternative ways of living in or viewing the modern world. Strategic planning is associated with ‘objective' graphic forms such as maps, diagrams, graphs, charts and sketches. Turning such a notion on its head, the works in this exhibition explore fantastical scenarios, impossible geographies, new beings and habitats and subtle subversions of life as we know it. The international artists in Best Laid Plans exploit the positive potential of human fallibility and explore it as a force for imagining new forms of organisation and existence. The simplicity and directness of drawing means that it comes readily to the service of the telling of myths and fables, perfect allegorical means to convey ideas and messages. Trenton Doyle Hancock is best known for his narration of a war between two factions — the mounds and the vegans - who stand as metaphors for extreme views and behaviour. This story has been played out in colourful, figurative drawings, prints, paintings, sculptural and text works. For Best Laid Plans Hancock will create a brand new work, a wall-drawing based on his favourite film, ‘An American Werewolf in London'. In prints, books and radio plays Janice Kerbel gives articulate form to ideas that might best be played out in the imagination or undercover. Kerbel selects an existing location, situation or institution and through a meticulous process of research devises a scenario in which certain situations evolve, free of practical and ideological constraints. ‘Dead Star' (2006), which will be included in Best Laid Plans, is a large scale copperplate photogravure etching of a town designed for ghosts. Its topography is based on dead stars which map out a terrain designed specifically to meet the needs and proclivities of ghosts. Marie Lund has conceived three new works for Best Laid Plans, which include a sculpture, a work on paper and a performance. Each piece involves an original conceived around the ideals of past moments in history and a reconstruction that takes account of the subsequent passage of time and the works contemporary status. The sculptural work is a bronze relief that recreates the maquette for an idealistic playground; the work on paper investigates the ethics of restoration; and the performance, which will take place during the symposium at Tate Modern, reactivates a visionary architectural plan which has hitherto existed only as a drawing. Marjetica Potrc is a Slovenian artist-architect whose ideas are realised as built architectural projects conceived for specific geographical situations, sculptural works, drawings and prints. Her training as an architect, together with an interest in the educative and communicative potential of art, results in a practice that provides solutions, some schematized and others realised, to real life problems such as the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or water shortages in Caracas. Potrc's fluidly executed and colourful drawings explore a variety of responses, both utopian and realistic, to real-life situations that she encounters. They perform a pedagogic role, informing art audiences of projects that take place beyond the exhibition space. Katya Sander's works revolve around themes such as the private and public domains and explores language, identity, urban planning and democracy. Her new work for Best Laid Plans is inspired by Modernist architecture encountered during her recent trip to Brazil and imagery from medical journals that visually structures our conception of our physical selves. This imagery is collaged together to form a wall drawing which is animated by video projection. The new work continues her exploration into different forms of visual stimulation and audience response and communication. Working from the notion of the score as both a curriculum and a plan for political action, Ultra-red will present work on paper and in sound from their ongoing project, The Cardew Object, a project commissioned by the Drawing Room that took place at the ICA in November 2009. The project involves the collaboration of the School of Echoes (London) and the New School, New York. Drawing from both the voices of participants and key texts of emancipatory thought, such as those by Paulo Freire and Amilcar Cabral, the score becomes not only the record of what has transpired but the basis for future enunciations. Matei Bejenaru's practice centres around the accelerating changes in the understanding of self-identity, labour and value in post-communist cultures. These conflicting definitions, values and sentiments are often examined from the context of Romania as a failed utopia. For Best Laid Plans Bejenaru has conceived several experimental choral pieces titled ‘Songs for a Better Future', developed in collaboration with the London-based composer Will Dutta. The project combines musical themes from proletarian choirs, the idealisation of the worker in communism, with themes from electronic music songs of the 1970s which were inspired by the fetishism and idealism of technological progress in the Western world. Paul Rooney's work, which takes the form of film, video, music and fiction, uses different narrative forms to explore the complexities of representing both historical and contemporary events and situations. He focuses on individuals operating on the margins of society whose activities propose deviant solutions or alternatives to the status quo. Rooney's work for Best Laid Plans is a short story titled 'I Can Travel Far From Here'. Inspired by a website, it consists of a thirteen point plan that involves using toy tanks to save the world for Jesus.

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