Swarms of Black Flies Make the Roses Purple

20 Jul 2012 – 26 Aug 2012

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

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London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 8, 388, 254
  • Bethnal Green
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Edwina Ashton / Alex Baker & Kit Poulson / William S. Burroughs / Brion Gysin / Emma Hart / Alejandro Ospina / Plastique Fantastique


Swarms of Black Flies Make the Roses Purple presents instances of collaboration with technologies of production, particularly in terms of how contemporary artists manipulate technologies into an artistic purpose. With precedents provide through the work of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, the exhibition presents new works that investigate artistic communion and transmutation. Included is work by Gysin from the most crucial period of his career. Gysin explored language as a material, creating calligraphic paintings and inventing the cut-up technique from which, via his groundbreaking Poem of Poems, this exhibition gets its name. Alongside Gysin's work are new works by Ashton, Baker & Poulson, Plastique Fantastique Hart and Ospina, and previously unseen works by William S. Burroughs. Integral to work of Plastique Fantatique and Baker & Poulson are premises of collaboration, whether as a group, in the former case, or as a dialogue between two artists in the latter. Baker & Poulson's collaborations concern the fragility of communication and language, whilst Plastique Fantastique perform ritual and inscriptions as acts of becoming. Hart uses cameras and video as important presences in artworks themselves, both shooting and viewing becomes an interaction inextricable from the technologies of filming and the context of presentation. Likewise Burroughs viewed a different kind of shooting as a creative act, the holes made by gun targets becoming means to generate new fabricated landscapes and narratives. Ashton makes anthropomorphic performances in costumes that sometimes seem to hamper their own operation. At once melancholic and tender, her videos produce existential narratives of creatures bound by their own given form. Ospina's uses the detached virtual tactility of computer image-making software to deal with how people choose to record and represent themselves in the 21st Century. Here, in a major new work, he presents a painting collaboration with a teenage girl from his native Colombia who, until now, has never accessed the Internet. Ospina confronts their shared landscape of their childhood with widely dissimilar experience of the proliferation of image in the digital age. Swarms of Black Flies Make the Roses Purple is curated by Mark Jackson


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