The exhibition considers artworks that use the structure of the stage and certain conventions of scriptwriting as a framework for investigations into relationships, social interactions, and political ecologies. Taking theatre as an open ended process with its multiple contexts and references, the exhibition acts as catalyst for performances, screenings, talks and other forms of engagement.
Theatre, performance and dance often crosses over to the medium of fine art when creating new strategies. This exchange is mutual when exhibitions and artists build on the ideas of post-Brechtian and post-dramatic theatre. Each artist in the exhibition employs a wide variety of tactics, developed in genres such as stand up comedy, political theatre or psychodrama. Investigating everyday life situations through a level of abstraction, the works seek alternative models for narration and to describe relations between the individual and society. Combined with ideas stemming from the social sphere such as ecological protests and utopian scientific experiments, this project takes an approach that links to current theoretical developments in the areas of cultural identity, models for communities and social and political activism. To provide multiple entry points to the project, the glossary serves to introduce further ideas and notions that inspired our discussions and informed the artists’ processes to inquire into human agency.
*Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances is the title of a video installation by Anja Kirschner and David Panos, exploring the acting exercises developed by renowned actor and teacher Sanford Meisner.
Thursday, 13 November, 7 to 9pm
PV and performance by Feiko Beckers 'The Exact Opposite of the Exact Opposite'
Wednesday, 3 December, 7 to 9pm
Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Rehana Zaman in conversation. Chaired by Louise Shelley. Event takes place at Tenderbooks.
Tuesday, 9 December, 7 to 9pm
Jacopo Miliani 'Club Deserto: a Polari Drama in Three Acts', book launch at Tenderbooks.
In his work Feiko Beckers both recounts and stages personal stories with the participation of members of his actual family and friends. Focusing on the problematic nature of everyday human relationships or daily rituals, his own personal connections and experiences become exemplary for wider social problems. In The Exact Opposite of the Exact Opposite he examines behavioural patterns especially as sources of anxieties, in order to unfold their dynamics and expose the underlying emotional charge. Enacting a story, he attempts to find answers to dilemmas or overcome awkward or unfortunate moments. In the form of performance, spoken text, or even song, video, sculpture and stage props his engaging tales revolve around personal failures, accidents and embarrassments. The props often stay behind in the exhibition space where they serve both as part of an installation and as a remnant of the live act.
In their films Anja Kirschner and David Panos focus on modes of performance, from acting techniques to digital compositing, in an enquire into the relationship between drama and performance, ideology and subjectivity. Their work unravels the processes involved in re-enacting a ‘realistic’ representation of a given character, and how to create empathy in the viewer from the performers’ standpoint. Uncanny Valley connects the investigation into acting modes started with Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances with a longstanding interest in digital compositing and animation techniques. The piece weaves together footage of actors in a motion capture shoot with imagery created by crowd generating software. Moving between the intimate process of capturing minute facial expressions and the construction of epic scenes, the work examines the contemporary representation of these two extremes of experience.
Jacopo Miliani works with images that have a certain past of existence. Focusing on the concept of representation and the power of language, especially gestures, he researches instances of elusive theatrical moments that call attention to the perception of transformation through the image of the mirage. In an array of media spanning from dance and performance to installation, video, and collages, he explores the interaction between the reality of the physical world and its representation. In this exhibition the series Folding Characters combine found footage of scene photographs from plays, with a collection of folded fabrics. The artist, and therefore the new viewer, are unaware of the original context of what is actually happening on the stage. The fabrics (tessuto in Italian from the Latin textus, meaning both fabric and narrative plot) and their dynamic folds allows to imagine further acts and narratives.
Timothy Ivison and Julia Tcharfas body of work is grounded in a sculptural practice and is driven by experimentation with object relations and historical references. They developed an aesthetic and spatial language around their research interests, ranging from utopian social theory and architectural history, to urban nature experiments. Emphasising the engagement with the city, their interdisciplinary approach often involves material local to the installation site and context. For this exhibition they created a temporary reading room and event space, as a doubling of Cecil Court’s antique bookshops. In the work in progress installations the displayed books, objects, performance documentation and visual materials from their recent artistic research related to the history of closed-systems experiments and the visualisation of systems thinking. This non-linear archaeology of materials is staged in various custom display modules and sculptural artefacts.
Rehana Zaman composes anecdotes, vignettes and short stories drawn from specific socio-political contexts, as videos, performances and texts. Narratives are abstracted and carefully staged to examine how individuals and groups relate. Improvisation games, collaborative techniques and performance strategies drawn from political theatre (Dario Fo, The Theatre Workshop, Augusto Boal and Berthold Brecht) have been integrated into sessions leading towards the production of a video work. Like an Iron Maiden Trapped Between a Rock and a Hard Place (2010) and Iron Maiden (Ambridge), 2011 emerged from an ongoing interest in the impact of social structures on the self from familial relations to broader constructs around community and identity. Like an Iron Maiden… charts the conversation of a group of individuals in three acts. Situated in a blank dark space resembling an theatre stage, the characters are referring to each other only by initial and number while the group address three key issues: money, land and M. (one of the characters present).
Anja Kirschner (b 1977 Munich DE) and David Panos (b 1971 Athens GR) are based in London.
Screenings include Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances / Uncanny Valley, Cornerhouse, Manchester UK (2014); Artists Film Club, ICA, London; Ultimate Substance, 4th Athens Biennial GR; A Theatre Cycle, Nomas Foundation and Teatro Valle Occupato, Rome IT (all 2013). Among their solo exhibitions Ultimate Substance, B3, Biennale des bewegten Bildes 2013, Frankfurt am Main DE; Ultimate Substance, Extra City, Antwerp BE (2013); Ultimate Substance, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, DE; Liverpool Biennial, FACT, Liverpool UK;living truthfully under imaginary circumstances, Transmission, Glasgow UK; Ultimate Substance, Secession, Vienna AT (all 2012) living truthfully under imaginary circumstances, Hollybush Gardens, London; The Empty Plan, Focal Point Gallery, Southend UK; Curated by: The Last Days of Jack Sheppard, Galerie Krobath, Vienna AT; and The Empty Plan, Kunsthall Oslo NO (all 2011). Selected group exhibitions include A Machine Desires Instructions as a Garden Desires Discipline, MARCO, Vigo ES and FRAC Lorraine FR (2014); Requiem for a Bank, HMKV, Dortmund DE; The Magic of the State, Lisson Gallery, London and Beirut, Cairo EG; HELL AS, Palais de Tokyo, Paris FR (all 2013) and Bachelor Party, ICA, Philadelphia US (2012).
Feiko Beckers (b 1983, The Netherlands) graduated from Academie Minerva in Groningen in 2006 and he was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam NL in 2010-11.
In 2013 he was an artist in residence at Le Pavillon, Palais de Tokyo in Paris FR.Solo presentations include Liste18, Basel CH with Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art; Slow and Gradual, Meet Factory, Prague CZ; My Rock is Also Your Thing, Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art, Amsterdam NL (all 2013); The Arranging of Books by Colour, deServiceGarage, Amsterdam NL (2012) andMaking a Birthday Cake with my Mother, Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art, Amsterdam NL (2011). Recent group exhibitions and performances include Deadpan and Disco, Centrale Fies, Dro IT (2014); Narcissistic Tendencies, NEST, Den Haag NL; Accident with Red Car, Art13, London with Yeo Workshop, Singapore; Apathy is Not My Friend, Chapter House Lane, Melbourne AU; Educating Artists? GNYP Art/KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin DE; Nouvelle Vagues, Palais de Tokyo, Paris FR (all 2013); Accident with Red Car and 5x3, Kunstraum, Düsseldorf DE; A Story About My Fathers Heart Attack... STUK, Leuven BE; Advantages and Disadvantages, Witte de With, Rotterdam NL; Deus ex Machina, De Appel, Amsterdam NL (all 2012) and Three Options, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam NL (2011).
Jacopo Miliani (b 1979 Florence IT), lives and works in Milan, studied BA Disciplines of Art D.A.M.S, University of Bologna IT, 2003 and completed his MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London in 2006.
Among his solo exhibitions are Gust, Bergamo IT; Easy as…or simple as, Frutta, Rome IT; Go go my dancer, move your arms and feet until the floor ends, Velan Centre for Contemporary Art, Turin IT and Knowledge is good, Videoteca GAM, Turin IT (all 2013); Do you believe in mirages? EX3, Florence IT andPlaymakesplay, Frutta, Rome IT (both 2012). Recent group exhibitions and performances include Score, MARCO, Vigo ES;FAX, KARST, Plymouth UK (2014); Fig.5, David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Footnotes, CAC, Vilnius LT (both 2013); We will disappear you, curated by Adam Carr, Frutta, Rome IT;Supplica per un’appendice, Villa Romana, Florence IT; In the Belly of the Whale (ACT III), curated by Rosie Cooper and Ariella Yedgar, Montehermoso, Victoria-Gasteiz ES (all 2012); In the Belly of the Whale, Cartel, London (2011); Childhood night, Barbican Gallery, London and Perfect Courses and Shimmering Obstacles, Tate Britain, London (both 2010).
Rehana Zaman (b 1982, Heckmondwike UK), lives and works in London. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and completed her MFA in Fine Art at the same place in 2011.
She was awarded a British Council research grant with Museo de Art Carrillo Gil, Mexico City in 2015 and a Gasworks International Fellowship to Beirut in 2013. Zaman was a LUX Associate Artist in 2012/2013. She is a lecturer on the BA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Solo exhibitions include Tell me the story Of all these things, Tenderpixel, London UK (2016-2017); Giantess, StudioRCA, London UK (2016); Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen, commissioned by The Tetley, Leeds UK (2014); I, I, I, I and I, Art Rotterdam Projections NL with Tenderpixel (2014); What an Artist Dies in Me / Exit the Emperor Nero, Outpost, Norwich UK (2013) and I, I, I, I and I, commissioned by Studio Voltaire, London UK (2013).
Group exhibitions and screenings include Shades of Opacity cur. Shama Khanna, Jerwood Gallery, London UK; Dry Goods, Cologne DE; Artist Moving Image Film Festival, ICA, London UK; exhaust, Contemporary Art Tasmania AU (all 2016); Marcel Tarelkin / Rehana Zaman, Joint Venture, Dusseldorf DE (2015); OFF-Biennale Budapest, Tranzit, Budapest HU (2015); Acting Truthfully Under the Circumstances, Tenderpixel, London UK (2015); Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen, Konsthall C, Stockholm SE (2015); Things You Think in Order, Tenderpixel, London UK (2013); Home Theatre, Baro, São Paulo BR (2013), The GDR Goes On!, The Showroom, London UK (2012); The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, London UK (2012); We Love You, Limoncello, London UK (2012); and Other People’s Problems, Project Space Leeds UK (2011).
She is frequently invited to devise and deliver workshops, talks and events for groups and organisations such as J4DW, Studio Voltaire’s The Syllabus, RCA, UCL, Birkbeck, London, Funen Academy, Denmark and Royal Institute of Art, Sweden.
Tim Ivison (b 1982 Denver US) and Julia Tcharfas (b 1982 Donetsk UA) live and work in London.
Solo exhibitions include Render, Hilary Crisp, London (2013) andMetropotamia, Hilary Crisp, London (2011). Group exhibitions and collaborative projects in recent years are Llocs comuns, Can Felipa Arts Visual, Barcelona, ES (2014); Systems Thinking from the Inside, 21st Century, Chisenhale Gallery, London; Total Vitality (by Julia Tcharfas), Bold Tendencies, London; Recent Work by Artists, Auto Italia, London; A Space Base, for Instance, [space], London (all 2013); The Biopolitical City (by Tim Ivison), Architectural Association, London; Summer School: The Eltham Open curated by Alex Ross, Gerald Moore Gallery, London; (On) Accordance, or-bits.com; ROCRO, MACRO, Rome IT; Echo-System, Helsinki World Design Capital, commissioned by the British Council (all 2012); For Inclusion in the Syllabi, Pigeon Wing, London; Rules of Engagement, Angus-Hughes, London; (Architecture in Words Only), Hilary Crisp, London (all 2011); New Wight Biennial: New Romance, UCLA Department of Art, Los Angeles US; Counter Constructs, Auto-Italia South East, London;No Soul For Sale, Panel discussion with members of The Suburban, Vox Populi, and Auto-Italia South East at Tate Modern, London; Utopia and Nature, Residency ASFA, Crete, Greece (all 2010).
We are grateful for the support of:
Thanks to The Block, Hollybush Gardens and The Showroom for equipment and support.