Ed Atkins. Happy Birthday !!!

1 Jun 2018 – 19 Aug 2018

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The Musée d’Art moderne is pleased to present Happy Birthday !!!, an installation by Ed Atkins, in its permanent collections.


Born in 1982, Ed Atkins lives and works in London. The artist is well known for his immersive environments and association of high definition digital images and syncopated sound montages. A literature connoisseur, he writes his own scenarios, creating a world of digital illusions and fantasy sometimes verging on the grotesque.

Happy Birthday!!! is a computer-generated animation in black and white. More disturbing than its title suggests, it accords a central role to death. One also detects furtive allusions to Bruce Nauman's Self-Portrait as a Fountain(1996), Alice in Wonderland and a drawing by writer Pierre Klossowski for his book L'Adolescent immortel (1994).

The intermittently appearing numbers are like mysterious codes: impossible to say if they refer to dates, quantities or durations. Indirectly they suggest the binary code figures 1 and 0 which, like words in literature, enable the creation of entirely imaginary worlds.

This work confronts the effects of the omnipresence of the digital on our lives and memories: for example, in the long run those automatic birthday reminders entrusted to our mobile phones can only lead to disruptions.

Ed Atkin’s work was featured in “Co-workers”, an exhibition of post-Internet art shown at the museum in 2015.

Curator : Anne Dressen

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Ed Atkins


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