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