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Exhibition: Curators’ Series #2. Sculpture of The Space Age. By Raimundas Malasauskas (2 Oct — 19 Dec 2009)

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An exhibition curated curated by Raimundas Malasauskas with Gintaras Didziapetris, Ryan Gander, Mario Garcia Torres and Rosalind Nashashibi.

The David Roberts Art Foundation is delighted to invite its second guest curator, part of our Curators’ Series: Raimundas Malasauskas. The Curators’ Series aims to support international curators with unique and experimental vision by commissioning projects for the David Roberts Art Foundation.

Raimundas Malasauskas presents the group exhibition Sculpture of The Space Age, which he has developed over the last 12 months. The title refers to a purely fictional exhibition mentioned in J. G. Ballard’s short story The Object of the Attack (1984) which was supposedly held at the Serpentine gallery in the late 70’s. This exhibition never happened, it is not even described in the text but exists solely as a title. Malasauskas started a discussion with some artists about this potential exhibition and describes his process as ¬´ Re-visiting the exhibition that only took place in a novel: an interdisciplinary experiment of space-time traveling. Four artists had been invited to be part of the project. Gintaras Didziapetris, Ryan Gander, Mario Garcia Torres and Rosalind Nashashibi will work collectively with the invited curator and the David Roberts Art Foundation to make a fiction real. The exhibition will examine aspects of art production and transmission, porosities in between fiction and reality as well as positions of the art works in time and space.

Malasauskas writes “Sculpture of The Space Age became an anachronism that keeps living on its own ambivalence as something that could have happened, then almost happened again. It openly contains its own possibility and impossibility, as this new diversion suggests: Mario Garcia Torres with Ryan Gander and Gintaras Didziapetris with Rosalind Nashashibi bring Sculpture of The Space Age to where it could have been and where it has never been yet: the year 2009. The show looks as if it was installed in the 70s, but will open its door only tomorrow.”

Dear Matthew Young

I knew one day you would be reading this. Forgive me if I will finish my letter abruptly – time is short and may run out at any moment. And please accept my apologies for missing each other in the 70s. It was ‘Hangar 18’, the movie, where we had a chance to meet for the first time while staring at dismembered bodies of astronauts floating in space. I watched it from the cinema mechanic’s pit where our teacher brought us – perhaps she wanted us to learn how a projection works. Gintaras was not born yet.

Many things happened since then: some affirmed your vision, some crushed it with a weight of aluminum. For example, the immediacy of real-time communications eradicated space-time that you saw as evil, yet technologies of simultaneous transaction brought even more continuity than you could have ever imagined. Colonel Stamford never took the world power, yet The Soviet Union collapsed. Religious wars have become a soup of the day, fanatics traded ideologies like fruits, future markets bursted loudly. When Michael Jackson filmed a new version of Thriller video there we saw 2000 corpses coming back from the grave instead of 200 in the original video (if back to the 80s Thriller predicted AIDS crisis, the new video confirmed predictions made back then.) Mario still claims that moon-walking was invented in Mexico and Rosalind contemplates galactic archaeology in action, carried by light emitted by stars millions of years ago. The setting sun gilds her bow and arrow. Wearing tightly woven bark cloth, a Chacobo Indian paddles through a flooded forest in Bolivia’s northeastern province of Beni. Some unknown forms from the past remain unknown, some turn ubiquitous. More and more people develop acute chronodyslexia – things that are far in time look closer than they are and things that look close sometimes are not even there, or they are inside you. Moments in between clog. It seems that time has undergone same transformation that you applied to the prison chapel creating an impeccable Ames Room in order to escape it: illusion draws us in there.

Manchester United won 2-1 against Tottenham Hotspur that night of 1999 when I was talking to Graham Gussin in Vilnius. He told me about the exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 1979 where you attended the opening.  It was the same show that Graham and Jeremy Millar tried to curate in the same gallery more than a decade later. The show was called ‘Sculpture of Space Age’. Graham did not learn much of it from you since you were too drunk and disorderly at the opening. However neither he nor Jeremy managed to see more. After doing an extensive research on the content of the show, talking to J.G. Ballard who wrote the story where the exhibition is mentioned, and even contacting some of the artists who might have possibly been in it, they ended up leaving the potential of the show on the shelf. The shelf had a portable hole in it – it landed in the press-release of the show in London in 2009. The mark was similar to what Ryan found one day in the park while looking for a forgotten title.

It is strange to write you this while waiting for images of the show to arrive. The show that neither Mario or Ryan, nor Rosalind with Gintaras have seen either. I feel that we are joining the community of those who never entered the exhibition. The images are full of suspension – of both belief and disbelief, of tiles and aluminium. Inscripted with a pre-monition of the show from the 1979 it brings it to 2009, or another time. A diptych of Gintaras and Rosie is supposed to split into two separate parts during that period – we will look at it carefully following the veines of marble.

“Would you open a time-capsule if you had one?” Alexis Vaillant asked me last week. I thought what aged most in the time capsule is the division between outside and inside, not what is inside. Because when we opened a time-capsule last time we found ourselves at the opening of the exhibition, drinking cocktails. However Alexis is right to claim that time-capsules have become time-machines.

Did you know they did open one of your capsules? Or, at least that is the way they thought about it. Ah, for them it was a big deception, they had the illusion of finding the final clue in it. That is why they eventually discarded it as evidence. They could tell from their scientific research that the piece of film in the metal container had been produced sometime around 1981, but that you had not exposed it until at least a couple of decades after its expiration date. I wondered what were you trying to save or recuperate in that film. Why did you save it for that long? The information in it is so little, I guess due to your excessive sensitivity condition to light. Sometimes I even doubt you actually exposed the film. Maybe it was just forgotten there, and they came up and made a whole story out of it. In any case I wondered what exposing a film really meant to you, and if you really thought of it as a    time capsule.

People said that the exhibition only took place inside a fiction. Others claimed that it was itself a fiction. Or a monadic fold in someone’s mind. “No, something else”, one of the guests said while looking through a cocktail glass of Rosalind and Gintaras. I realised that sometimes, when you look through that glass you see one exhibition, other times – another one, perhaps the one you once fallen into from another time breaking the window in 1985. By the way, was it you that actually wrote the following passage?: “Looking for B-plots and C-spots, scanning backgrounds of film scenes and surface of celluloid, dust of beats, flip sides of everything including dust (dust of vinyl records including;) looking for unclassified acts of emergence, obscure transmissions, extinct specimen and specimen with no species, operational codes of irreproducible zombies, impossibility of action, attraction; extracting the DNR of inextractable and unleashing it on new demand of irreproducible, full            stop moon.”

Jay told me that you were living in London. And so we wanted to add you in the artists list. Your talent as an arsonist was very convincing. But when you jumped in through that window breaking it, it became difficult to convince the rest of the crew. We believed you will come for an opening though.

Actually it took me years to understand what you were doing then. When we opened the show in 2009 it was just the beginning of the operation. You said you would be there. And you were – to celebrate the enduring mysteries of Ames room.

Thanks for coming.

Download exhibition leaflet here.

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  • Exhibition view.
Mario Garcia Torres/Ryan Gander, Gintaras Didziapetris/Rosalind Nashashibi and Ryan Gander
Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009.
    1/7Exhibition view. Mario Garcia Torres/Ryan Gander, Gintaras Didziapetris/Rosalind Nashashibi and Ryan Gander Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009.
  • Gintaras Didziapetris/Rosalind Nashashibi, Blinking Men, 2009. Slide and page from a book. Courtesy of the artists.
Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009.
    2/7Gintaras Didziapetris/Rosalind Nashashibi, Blinking Men, 2009. Slide and page from a book. Courtesy of the artists. Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009.
  • Ryan Gander, Matthew Young falls from the year 1985 into a white room (Maybe this is that way it is supposed to happen), 2009. 
Stunt glass and timber fragments. Courtesy the artist.
Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
    3/7Ryan Gander, Matthew Young falls from the year 1985 into a white room (Maybe this is that way it is supposed to happen), 2009. Stunt glass and timber fragments. Courtesy the artist. Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
  • Exhibition view.
Mario Garcia Torres/Ryan Gander, Everything we ever imagined and the only way in which we could materialise it, 2009. Poster. Courtesy the artists.
Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
    4/7Exhibition view. Mario Garcia Torres/Ryan Gander, Everything we ever imagined and the only way in which we could materialise it, 2009. Poster. Courtesy the artists. Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
  • Mario Garcia Torres/Ryan Gander
Everything we ever imagined and the only way in which we could materialise it, 2009. 
Poster. 
Courtesy the artists.
Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
    5/7Mario Garcia Torres/Ryan Gander Everything we ever imagined and the only way in which we could materialise it, 2009. Poster. Courtesy the artists. Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
  • Mario Garcia Torres 
Stereogram of a Photophobic, 2009. 
20 Colour slides. 
Courtesy the artist.
Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
    6/7Mario Garcia Torres Stereogram of a Photophobic, 2009. 20 Colour slides. Courtesy the artist. Image courtesy Mark Blower, 2009
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