Each artist provides an insightful critique on power via commentary on fake news, technology and subsequent distorted human perception. The show’s subtitle, ‘Virtual. Digital. Analogue’ describes each artist’s technique, yet as the exhibition unfolds we find that, in an age saturated with technology and mass production, the categories are not mutually exclusive. Whether located in the virtual, digital or analogue realm, the exhibition looks at constructed environments and how different technologies have contributed to the blurred lines of the real and the artificial.
Rachel Ara is a conceptual digital data artist, incorporating her background in computer system design with familiar, technological aesthetics. For Controlled Realities, Rachel’s work questions value in the art world and beyond, where she employs satire in her practice to highlight these issues. She was longlisted for the Arte Laguna Prize for Virtual Art for her piece ‘Cocksure’ and won the Aesthetica Prize 2016 with the prototype for ‘This Much I’m Worth’, both of which feature at Anise Gallery, in virtual reality and sculpture forms respectively.
Charles Harrop-Griffiths is Anise Gallery’s first Artist-in-Residence. His practice is highly experimental using mixed media, incorporating installation, ink drawings, street photography and virtual reality. This level of versatility and action is reflected in the subject matter and aesthetics in his work. Interested in surveillance and technology, Charles’ new work channels his interest in the quotidian use of technology, and how devices are becoming a quasi-religious phenomenon.
Jacek Ludwig Scarso’s practice stems from his passion for performance, and his current sculpture work looks at human fragility and the absurdity of existence. Described by him as “impossible theatre sets”, his pieces arrest the viewer with playful interactions between drama and contemporary art. Working between London and Rome, Jacek is Artistic Director of the award-winning Elastic Theatre and Senior Lecturer at the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, where his artistic research was awarded doctoral recognition.
Although the exhibition showcases three very different artists and their techniques, virtual reality is where the three meet and the viewer is invited to experience the virtual reality headset, which is the epitome of the controlled and contrived realities addressed by each artist. A collaborative piece with creative input from Rachel, Charles and Jacek will take the form of a VR experience.