A new exhibition of recent works by ten contemporary artists tracing a growing interest in the pollution and breakdown of systems and processes. Slippages and spillages, disruption and contamination characterise sculptural, film and installation works.
A closed-loop fountain, corrupted translations of everyday items, mutant organisms with industrial, technological and organic components, loyalty cards and hard drives, and abstract spatial environments are among the unsettling objects in the exhibition. Many works are newly made or have not previously been shown in the UK.
Geographies of Contamination is co-curated by Laura McLean-Ferris, Alexander Scrimgeour and Vincent Honoré.
Olga Balema (b.1984, Ukraine, lives in Berlin and Amsterdam)
Balema’s sculptures exist on the border of the alive and the inanimate, using materiality, fragmentation and bodily presences to reduce the distinction between object and subject. Her two works in the show feature an extended latex arm and deconstructed steel fountains, pointing to transformations and mistranslations within a strange environment of exchange. Balema has exhibited in Europe and the USA, including solo presentations at Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2013), 1646, Den Haag (2013) and The Vanity, Los Angeles; and group shows at The Approach, London (2013), Casco, Utrecht (2012) and Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2011). www.olgabalema.com
Neil Beloufa (b.1985, France, lives in Paris)
Beloufa’s sculptures, assemblages, videos and installations use displaced, condensed or fictional images. Beloufa presents five works (including two from the David Roberts collection); panels of obscured electrical parts that hint at an opaque circuit system, and large freestanding ‘souvenirs’ made from a re-configured fragments of a wall built for a previous show. Beloufa has exhibited in art institutions and film festivals, including solo shows at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013) and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); and group shows at SongEun Artspace, Seoul (2013) and Royal College Of Art, London (2013). He participated in Venice and Lyon Biennales (2013), and is currently preparing a solo show at ICA, London. He is represented by François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles; Galleria Zero, Milan and Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris. www.neilbeloufa.com
Nicolas Deshayes (b.1983, France, lives in London)
Deshayes works with glossy, synthetic materials (such as anodised aluminium and vacuum-formed plastic) to create skins, bulges and organic forms with both liquid and solid properties. The contrasting wipe-clean industrial aesthetics and the bodily undertones of his sculptures play on our visceral response to an object. For the exhibition Deshayes is making a new series of vacuum-formed sculptures and an installation of discreet cast aluminum reliefs. Deshayes has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at S1 Artspace, Sheffield (2013), Brand New Gallery, Milan (2013) and Jonathan Viner, London (2012); and group shows at Galerie Opdhal, Stavanger (2013), The Approach, London (2013) and Carl Freedman Gallery, London (2013). He is represented by Jonathan Viner Gallery, London. www.nicolasdeshayes.net
David Douard (b.1983, France, lives in Paris)
Douard’s works combine films, soundtracks, tweaked and motorised everyday objects to create environments of overlapping digital, virtual, mechanical and material experiences; including an unsettling animism. He presents a new commission for the show and group of recent works, including a freestanding fountain system; for the first exhibition of his work in the UK. Douard has exhibited extensively in Europe, including solo exhibitions at Signal, Malmö (2013), Les Eglises, Chelles (2012) and Bétonsalon, Paris (2012); and group shows at the Biennale de Lyon (2013), T293, Naples (2013) and 1857, Oslo (2013). He is currently preparing a solo exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014) and Sculpture Center, New York (2014). Douard is represented by High Art, Paris.
Renaud Jerez (b.1982 France, lives in Berlin)
Jerez’s installations use digital and material presences – mummified plumbing systems, abstracted computer animations, sand, plastic, fragments of decoration – and the vocabulary of the Internet and advertising to evoke an uneasy landscape of contemporary consumerism. They explore the systems of an increasingly intangible materialism. Jerez presents the latest iteration of his project Greed (2013–), premiered at MOT International, London in 2013, commissioned for the exhibition. Jerez’s exhibitions include a solo presentation at Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris (2014); a solo exhibition at MOT International, London (2013); and a group show at Sandy Brown, Berlin (2013). He is represented by Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris.
Sam Lewitt (b.1981 born in Los Angeles, lives in New York)
Lewitt’s works examine communications technologies (both obsolete and cutting edge) that are integral to our contemporary life; systems which are simultaneously familiar and obscure to us. For Fluid Employment, 2012, the artist used ferrofluid, a material used to make hard drives that responds to a magnet yet retains the plasticity of a liquid, straddling both states. Lewitt presents two new and two existing works from his Stored Value Field Separators series, building sculptures from credit and loyalty cards. Lewitt has exhibited globally, including solo exhibitions at Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Köln (2013), Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2011) and Gallery Taka Ishii, Kyoto, Japan (2009); and group shows at MUMOK, Vienna (2013), Whitney Biennial (2012), Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles (2011) and Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2011). He is represented by Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York and Daniel Buchholz, Cologne and Berlin.
Marlie Mul (b.1980 The Netherlands, lives in Berlin and London)
Marlie Mul’s work is often informed by everyday outdoor scenarios, such as air vents that have been appropriated as ashtrays, or gritty rain puddles. Cigarette butts and litter here are traces of human behaviour, suggesting the invisible presence of a virtual population or crowd. Sensitive to the banality of their imagery and narrative, Mul’s sculptures portray these common situations with such artificiality that they are rather a representation of ‘realistic’ than of ‘real’. Mul has had solo shows at Croy Nielsen, Berlin (2013); Fluxia, Milan (2012); Autocenter, Berlin (2012); SPACE, London (2012); and participated in group shows at Vilma Gold, London (2013), M/L Artspace, New York (2013); Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2011, 2013) and HHDM, Vienna (2012). Last year, Mul also co-curated the group exhibition “Door Between Either and Or” together with Judith Hopf at Kunstverein München.
Magali Reus (b.1981 The Netherlands, lives in London)
Reus is interested in the strategic manipulation of everyday things, translating a known object or image into forms more frustrated and collapsed. In Reus’ works, handmade approximations of these things are resistant or exhausted, abstracted from their expected functions. Making sculpture and video, her work is at once sanitized and hermetic, but agitated also by the debris and proximity of an inevitable human touch. Reus presents three sculptures, each mimicking the form and image of a ubiquitous waiting room chair, but all so graphically rendered that they deny the conventional invitation to sit or linger. Selected solo exhibitions include: Highly Liquid, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam; Out of Empty, Albert Baronian, Brussels, (2013); ON, The Approach, London (2012). She is included in Assembly: recent artists film and video 2008-2013, Tate Britain and has forthcoming group exhibitions at Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; De Hallen, Haarlem. Forthcoming solo shows for 2014 include Freymond Guth Fine Arts, Zurich and Circuit, Lausanne. Her solo exhibition In Lukes and Dregs currently runs at The Approach, London until February 16th. She is represented by The Approach, London. www.magalireus.com
Rachel Rose (b.1986, lives in New York)
Rose’s work addresses the boundaries between life and death. The work featured here was shot in a cryogenic facility, a robotics perception lab and zoos across America, transposing through these places the sensation of being alive, yet feeling dead. Rose probes that underneath this feeling of dying is a fundamental mutability, felt in our everyday living, sense of being and time. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Electronic Arts Intermix, NY (2013), MOCA Miami (2013), Kunstverein Düsseldorf, DE (2013), Night Gallery, LA (2013) forthcoming, a new commission for Sculpture Center, NY (2014). www.rachellrose.com
Michael E. Smith (b.1977 USA, lives in Detroit)
Smith’s objects, pictures and videos appear as physical reconstructions of emotional disfigurement; his exhibitions as an archeology of humanity. He counters the ecological and economic disaster of our era with a materialism of basic needs, displayed as a layout of ruined bodies. Smith exhibited at the Whitney Biennial (2012), Culturgest Lisbon (2012), La Biennale de Rennes (2012), Ludwig Forum Aachen (2013) and CAPC, Bordeaux (2014). He is represented by KOW, Berlin.
Vincent Honoré is a curator and writer based in Paris and London, and founding Director of DRAF, London (2008–present). Formerly, he worked as a Curator at Tate Modern, London, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He writes regularly on contemporary art for journals and magazines.
Laura McLean-Ferris is a writer and curator based in New York and London. She regularly contributes to Frieze, Artforum, Mousse, ArtReview and Art Monthly. Recent curatorial projects include Cally Spooner’s And you were wonderful, on stage, at the National Academy Museum, New York, during Performa 13 (2013), with Charles Aubin; and Deliquesce, Jonathan Viner, London (2012), with Emma Astner.
Alexander Scrimgeour is a writer, editor, and curator based in London and Berlin. He is a regular correspondent for Artforum, where he worked as an editor from 2006 to 2012. He is also an editor for the bilingual Austrian art magazine Spike Art Quarterly and the new online publishing house Fiktion.