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Lend Me a Hand
Private view: 13/03/18
Open to the public: 14/03/18 – 16/03/18
Open by appointment only: 17/03/18
A group show of recent works by Joel Blower, Tom Davis, Stine Deja and Liam Fallon.
Curated by Benjamin Lunt.
A negation of the relevancy of the artist’s hand in the virtual age. All works within the show inhabit an alternative format to their original conception. As reality within the art world becomes nothing more than the excessively luscious installation shots that constitute the basis for commonplace viewing, the tangible properties of all things understandable are gradually entering their new iteration as ‘hyper matter.’ Utilising sound art, video, sculpture and painting, Lend Me a Hand augments artworks to exist within a virtualised realm wherein their physical being has shifted to an alternative mode of existence.
Deja presents constituent parts of her video ‘4K Zen,’ which usually consists of digitally rendered environments in order to generate a surrogate version of reality itself. Nevertheless, the memorising nature of these moving images is given agency to creep into physical existence via the tangible objects around the space. Deja presents the viewer with an enlivened, yet somewhat uncanny doppelgänger of her typical work, as the digitised characters that once mimicked contemporary life now become actively mimicked themselves within the realm of the tangible. Deja has also extended this method of reification to a ‘Snapchat Geofilter,’ which is only accessible in the physical location of the gallery for the duration of the show. Through this format the viewer’s being is synthesised to become a participatory element within the work.
A proxy for Fallon’s sculptural practice is found within the space. Presented only as an installation shot of a legitimate sculpture, printed at 1:1 scale to its source, Fallon’s aesthetically pleasing and typically ‘Insta-friendly’ sculpture has become at one with this form of representation. Bearing all qualities of its origin, aside from the original work’s sense of physicality within definable space, Fallon’s ‘I’ll keep dancing on my own,’ exploits the fetishisation of documentation images, whilst equally remaining powerful within the original work’s context.
At the private view, Davis will be operating an absurd egg-shaped puppet to form the persona of ‘Franky Frumpty after Bake;’ a satirical amalgamation of Frankenstein and Humpty Dumpty. This aimless pursuit will be undertaken by the artist as he struggles blindly with the mannequin straddling his lap to produce a cyclically reflexive still-life painting of a cigarette from the ashtray of ‘Franky’s’ studio. The puppet itself grasps a paintbrush in one hand and a joint in the other, presenting the concocted image of the desperate artist in their natural environment. Following the lineage of Paul McCarthy’s ‘The Painter,’ Davis’s performance of ‘Franky Frumpty’ allows this character, whom originated within a series of own Davis’s paintings, to finally have his very own opportunity within the art-world.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition, a sound track will be provided by artificial intelligence, trained by Joel Blower to regurgitate new music based on his idealised music taste. By analysing the preference of Blower’s song choices, the computerised understanding of musicality formulates and manufactures its own compositions, without influence external to its initial ‘inspiration.’ Within the gallery space, sensors are strategically placed to provide digital signals that in turn communicate with the artificially enabled melodist at the heart of the sounds heard by the viewer. This exchange will allow the viewer to, in effect, ‘play’ the room as the instrument of the audio they are hearing. As the sensors trigger, following the impact of the viewer’s walking pattern, the algorithmically generated combination of sounds in the gallery will change in accordance to decisions made by those present in the space. Perhaps knowingly or not, this process will form collaboration and the question of authorship, alongside the viability of creativity itself, as the partnership between Blower, AI and the viewer blossoms to form the changing soundscape within the space.
Lend Me a Hand, explores the developing nature of both the production and consumption of artwork within the 21st century. Each piece within the show is an evolution of itself; a rebirth through alternative media. Just as the infinite scroll of cyberspace defines a large part of modernity, whilst enabling and enforcing the individual to produce an online ambassador for their daily life, Lend Me a Hand utilises this logic to transform and transfigure the identity and actualisation of artworks shown. The question remains however; what is important? Is it the impact of the artist themselves, or the management of their virtual profile?