Grandes et Petites Machines - Craig Mulholland

12 Apr 2008 – 25 May 2008

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00

Cost of entry


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Spike Island

Bristol, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 506 via Temple Meads
  • Bristol Temple Meads
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Gallery 1 & 2
Spike Island presents the first major solo show in a public gallery by Glasgow based artist Craig
Mulholland. Grandes et Petites Machines continues Mulholland's investigations into systems of
social control and their technological manifestations. The exhibition, first staged at Sorcha Dallas
and Glasgow School of Art, has been expanded and reconfigured in a specially curated show that
responds to the epic scale of Spike Island's galleries.

The title refers to the Grandes Machines of the French Salon, large-scale historical paintings
depicting human struggle and violent revolution set against a crumbling state authority. In this
contemporary update the artist creates a fantastical place in which art works wage war against each
other and the lonely task of the Surveillance Operator is played out against a Futurist Opera.

Spanning across drawing, painting, sculpture and computer animation, Mulholland presents three
new bodies of work: Paths of Resistance, Resistance Rising and Peer to Peer. Paths of Resistance
is an installation which positions catapult-like tripods in dynamic opposition to intricately drilled
aluminium drawings, as if presenting the outcome of a battle between pre and post-industrial
machines. In Resistance Rising Mulholland animates these physical elements in an immersive fourscreen
video work that appears to monitor all who enter the space through a projected sequence of
blinking apertures and rotating camera angles.

The final element is Mulholland's new film, Peer to Peer, which sets the dystopian tale of a
Surveillance Operator labouring futilely inside a Panopticon prison against a newly composed
libretto. The work contains recurring motifs from both installations and stylistically references the
deadpan visuals of Kraftwerk videos and the bombastic use of soundtrack in Kubrick's A Clockwork
Orange. Grandes et Petites Machines operates as a total artwork that re-imagines and re-configures
the contemporary moment. The seriousness of Mulholland's enquiry is balanced by absurdist
tendencies which propose humour and irreverence as potential modes of resistance.

EVENT: Screening of Peer to Peer and Craig Mulholland in conversation with Susannah Thompson at
the Cube Microplex Cinema, Bristol. Saturday 12 April 2.00pm.
Spike Island


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