Animal Spirits - NZ & UK Artists in Stockholm
Publication accompanying the Animal Spirits exhibition at Sugarcube Stockholm, Jan-Feb 2011.
animal spirits New Zealand and British Artists in Stockholm 7 January - 6 February 2011 Animal Spirits Richard Crow, Eddie Clemens, Michael Harrison, Robert Hood, Paul Johns, Simon Lawrence, Andrew Mcleod, Peter Madden, Liz Maw, James Oram, Amanda Newall, Steve Swindells, Yvonne Todd, David Townsend, Maria Walls, Ben Webb, Adam Willetts Curated by Simon Lawrence, Amanda Newall and Leon Tan Richard Crow, Performance, January 7, 2011 Eddie Clemens, Captive Michael Harrison, Give and Take Robert Hood, Wisest Wizard Advancement and Boss Dragon 24/7/2009 Dear Paul Thanks for your email. Usually the Japanese Government doesn't release hunt details. Their quota for summer is around 850 Minke Whales and 20-50 Fin Whales. Kind Regards Anna P. Supporter Relationships Greenpeace Pete Bethune. November 26 at 8:53am they are still in port bro. there is speculation they are not going to antarctica. Lester Rowland. November 27 at 8:11am Let me know if you hear of the Nisshin Maru departing for the Antartica. Pete Bethune. November 27 at 8:33am For sure Lester Rowland. November 30 at 10:10am Hello Pete Does Sweden have a strong ANTI WHALING attitude. Are you associated with the Faeroe Islands and the problem that exists with Whaling in that part of the world? Pete Bethune. November 30 at 10:20am Hey Lester. Sweden is anti whaling ibelive but not overly so. We are running a campaign in faroes next year. Probably June to sept. You could join us if you wish. Lester Rowland. December 1 at 8:24am I am prone to sea sickness. I have been reading the Sea Shepherd TOP OF THE NEWS each day to check on the possible departure of the Nisshin Maru. Pete Bethune. December 1 at 2:12pm Hey Lester. Faroes is mostly a land campaign. We will have a few boats, but for the most part action is around the shore on foot. So I wouldn,t worry about sea sickness. :) 2 / 12 / 2010 2009724 e P Paul Johns, Faroe Islands Simon Lawrence, Curator Tui Andrew McLeod & Liz Maw, Evil Ocean Peter Madden, Disappearing James Oram, Feeling the Burn Amanda Newall, The Second Adam Steve Swindells, Untitled Yvonne Todd, Our Secret Child David Masters-Townsend, Untitled Maria Walls, Spirit Studies Ben Webb, Budgie Kiss Adam Willetts, Blue Landscape with Fungus, Blue Landscape with Bioarchitectural Structure, Blue Landscape with Ice Spires `Perhaps art begins with the animal...' Deleuze & Guattari As curators, we were familiar with the practices of the artists invited to Animal Spirits. Yet, there was a degree of uncertainty in our minds as to the final works that would eventuate, given that the animal is not necessarily a characteristic feature of all the artists involved. Writing after the opening of the exhibition, and the completion of an associated symposium at the Royal Institute of Art (Animal Aesthetics), many resonances across the works have become apparent, perhaps suggesting that a zone of animality may be located in practically all works of art after all. Indeed this was one of the contentions of the symposium. We are particularly pleased that a coherent and strong show resulted from a great deal of frenetic activity in a compressed time frame. Such are the often `ad-hoc' conditions of working across globalized networks in a shrinking world. What is especially satisfying about the show is the diversity of approaches the invited artists took to the ideas of animal spirits. Some artists took a literal and representational approach. Thus, animal forms may be found in Andrew McLeod's poster (which in fact derives from a t-shirt for the band Evil Ocean in which he plays), Peter Madden's subtractive collage (the empty form of fish cut out of the ocean), Ben Webb's zoosexual portrait, Steve Swindells' assemblages, as well as Yvonne Todd's photograph of a hedgehog. Others emphasized territorial aspects of art. Maria Walls' appropriation of practically all of the images of the works in the exhibition, affixed as photocopies to the roof as a kind of astrological spirit study, for example, raises the question of ownership and copyright, issues of property-territory. The manner in which Eddie Clemens' spider web (Captive) leaves an expressive trace or signature in the form of ink dripping from the web onto the gallery walls exemplifies an operation of territorializing. Artists such as McLeod and Todd also experimented with different approaches to animality, with the composition of wild sensations or affects. In McLeod's case, this is found in the audio works done in collaboration with Liz Maw. In Todd's this is one manner in which we might interpret her near-naked man - Gunther. Steve Swindells' practice also involves nonrepresentational approaches to animality in art, his Institute of Beasts (with Steve Dutton - see overleaf) being an intriguing experiment in which animals are literally invited into the studio, going on to form territories out of often unfamiliar milieu components. Richard Crow's performance was (as we discovered in his presentation at the symposium) part of a lifelong becoming-animal. The passage from the scarecrow to a crow (is it true finally, that one becomes that which one attempts to scare away?). Fittingly, Crow inhabited the Sugarcube roof, emitting crow recordings from the vast archives of the Institution of Rot, while below, documentation from the same archives revealed a little more of the mystery of a becoming-crow. Robert Hood's photograph, depicting himself leaping off the roof in a direct reference to Yves Klein's (1960) Leap into the Void, stages a becoming-bird, the suburban pavement being a rather more modest void. The accompanying wizard's staff of beer cans references a drinking game; but it also, like the photograph, highlights something of the animal spirits in the emphasis on the supernatural or irrational. Simon Lawrence's Curator Tui was one of the few pieces that brought into the interior space an animated animal (on a screen), fittingly, a native bird of New Zealand, the Tui. Extracted from Youtube and overdubbed with dialogue, it functioned visually as a reminder of the expressiveness of animals, the manner in which expressiveness is intertwined with vitality. Sonically, it posed the question of the becoming-human of the Tui, its assumption of human speech and even conceptual (as opposed to sensual) thought. Amanda Newall's neon installation is the only work that deals directly with the economic sense of the animal spirits. A modular Ikea house on (neon) fire, it references an image circulating in the popular imagination, that of the credit crunch as a burning house of banknotes. As if to mock the stability of currencies long unpegged from the gold standard, the installation is littered with 100 Kronor bronze notes. Ikea itself, together with the other superstar of Swedish capitalism, Hennes & Mauritz or H&M, exemplifies a Swedish tendency towards a throwaway culture of mass consumption; a strange emphasis on a veneer of fashionability over otherwise low quality materials and manufacturing. One wonders if Sweden's relatively `secure' economy is also an appearance superimposed over otherwise troubling circumstances, such as a 29% youth unemployment rate in 2010 (the highest among the Nordic countries). Curatorially, the exhibition was a successful experiment in working with the ad-hoc conditions of globalized communications and logistical planning, bringing together a strong body of New Zealand art (together with the related works of 2 British artists) into one of the capital cities of Scandinavia. As a noncommercially oriented project, it enabled a number of the artists to experiment with works they might otherwise not make for dealer gallery shows or for exhibition in New Zealand for that matter. As one of the most expensive cities in the world in terms of cost of living as well as commercial property, Stockholm offers few opportunities for experimental artistic work to be shown, particularly work by emergent or overseas artists whose careers are not at the level of international celebrity to warrant exhibitions in Swedish public institutions. This problem is of course not limited to Sweden, but is shared by many global cities with high density urban populations and tendencies towards gentrification of local centres or hubs. Gentrification drives the prices of property and living up, making it difficult for artists to sustain a practice in the vital zones of the city as well as to exhibit work in these high value commercial areas. Such areas are often monopolized by dealer galleries as well as public institutions with capital resources to afford them. On the other hand, peripheral areas of such cities often suffer from a lack of arts and cultural activities, with urban centres acting as a commercial magnet with `blockbuster' style shows. Sugarcube is pleased to have launched with this inaugural exhibition, which would not have been possible without the support of public funds from Creative New Zealand as well as the institutional support of Sweden's Royal Institute of Art. It is to the credit of these institutions to have chosen to support such a project at a time when commerce prevails in the so-called `creative industries.' Curators and Artists Richard Crow is a London based artist, renowned for the project he developed together with Nick Couldry, the Institution of Rot, an artist run space that, like the Sugarcube, blended artistic activities with residential life. He holds an MA in Sonic Art from Middlesex University, and has lectured at numerous universities and art institutions in the UK and abroad. He has also exhibited extensively internationally, and has held a number of residencies including in New Zealand and Australia. His current work draws extensively on the archives of the IOR. Eddie Clemens is a Christchurch based artist with a BFA from ILAM School of Fine Arts, and a MFA from ELAM School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited throughout New Zealand and was the Olivia Spencer Bower Fellow in 2008 and Frances Hodgkins Fellow in 2009. He is represented in New Zealand by the Sue Crockford Gallery. Michael Harrison is an established artist who has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and Australia. He has a BFA and MFA from the ELAM School of Fine Arts. His work is held in the collections of the Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin art galleries, as well as in Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. He is represented by the Hamish MacKay and Ivan Anthony Galleries. Robert Hood is a Christchurch based artist with a BFA (Sculpture) from ILAM School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited in New Zealand and Australia, and has works in the collections of the Auckland and Christchurch art galleries. He was the 2007 Olivia Spencer Bower fellow and is currently represented by the Jonathan Smart Gallery. Paul Johns is a Christchurch based artist who has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand. His works may be found in the collections of the country's public art galleries. Johns is represented by the McNamara Gallery. Simon Lawrence is a Christchurch based artist who holds a BFA from ILAM School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited throughout New Zealand and recently won the COCA Guthrey Travel Award. Together with Leon Tan, he was also awarded a Creative New Zealand grant towards the Animal Spirits Exhibition in 2011. Lawrence is one of the curators of Animal Spirits. Andrew McLeod is an Auckland based artist and musician with a BFA from ELAM School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited throughout New Zealand, and also in Australia, at the 27th Sao Paolo Biennale, and in Berlin. He has works in the collections of Te Papa the Museum of New Zealand, the Chartwell Trust, the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) as well as the Auckland Art Gallery and James Wallace Trust. He is represented by the Ivan Anthon, Brooke/Gifford and Peter McLeavey Galleries. Peter Madden is an Auckland based artist with a BVA from Auckland Institute of Technology and MFA from ELAM School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited not only throughout New Zealand, but also in Australia and Japan. His practice is based on collage and second hand imagery, with a special emphasis on the National Geographic series of magazines. He is represented by the Michael Lett Gallery. Liz Maw is an Auckland based artist, poet and musician who is particularly well known for her painterly portraits. Her work is held in public collections including the Chartwell Trust and Te Papa the Museum of New Zealand. She is represented by the Ivan Anthony Gallery. Her work in Animal Spirits involves a sonic collaboration with Andrew McLeod - Dawkins reads Darwin audiobook remixed. James Oram is a Christchurch based artist who trained in sculpture (BFA) at Canterbury University. Since graduating in 2004, he has exhibited regularly in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin. He also recently exhibited in Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia. Amanda Newall is an artist and academic originally from New Zealand but now based in Sweden. She is a Senior Lecturer in Sculpture at the Royal Institute of Art, and prior to that, was Lecturer at the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts. Her practice involves curating as well as art-making, and she is a specialist in new media, performance-installation and sculpture. She has exhibited widely and internationally and has research interests in digital technologies, institutional critique, gaming and wearable computing. She is one of the curators of Animal Spirits, and co-organizer of the Animal Aesthetics Symposium at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Art. Steve Swindells is Reader in Creative Practice/Research Leader in the School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield. He holds a practice-based PhD on The Relationship between Art and Citizenship. He has exhibited throughout Europe, North America and South Korea, and was artist in residence at Ssamzie Space Studios in Seoul in 2008. His recent work investigates relations between humans and animals in artistic processes, attending at the same time to the problem of ethics in such encounters. Yvonne Todd is an Auckland based artist-photographer whose training includes an Advanced Certificate in Professional Photography from Unitec as well as a BFA from ELAM School of Fine Arts. She has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand, as well as in Hong Kong, Berlin, Poland, Lithuania, Korea and Australia. She was winner of the prestigious Walters Prize in 2002. She is represented by the Ivan Anthony and Peter McLeavey Galleries. David Masters Townsend is a New Zealander living and working as an artist in London. He holds a BFA from ELAM School of Fine Arts, and was cofounder and director of the Fiat Lux Gallery Auckland between 1996-2000. He has exhibited in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Maria Walls is a Canterbury based artist whose current practice willfully runs a range of media and genres in order to produce `art studies' (of the works of others), and in extension to this, her art writing cuts up and pulls apart found resources as an affective manipulation of the participants and circumstances of fine art. She is currently pursuing DocFA studies at ELAM School of Fine Arts. Ben Webb is a New Zealand artist who has for the past several years lived and worked in a variety of countries including Germany and Argentina. Self-trained as an artist, he works with still-lifes, found images and portraiture, often using photographs as a starting point. Adam Willetts is a Christchurch based musician and artist whose practice shifts between the hi-tech and handcrafted, exploring relationships and interfaces between people, technology and popular culture. He has performed and exhibited throughout New Zealand and internationally since the late 1990s, featuring at numerous festivals and exhibitions including SoundWalk, LA (2005) Lines of Flight, Dunedin (2006 & 2009); TASIE, Beijing (2006), Cloudland at ISEA, Singapore (2008); Towards a Cinema of Pure Means, The Physics Room, Christchurch (2010). Leon Tan gained a PhD in Art History from the University of Auckland, in which he specialized in the history, aesthetics and politics of social networks. He previously lectured in Art History and Psychotherapy in New Zealand before relocating to Sweden in 2009. He is one of the curators of Animal Spirits, and co-organizer of the Animal Aesthetics Symposium at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Art. Acknowledgments Sugarcube thanks Creative New Zealand for a grant towards the partial costs of the exhibition, Vice-Chancellor M�ns Wrange and the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm for hosting the Animal Aesthetics Symposium and for the supply of audio-visual equipment, Justin Paton and Kate Montgomery for their support of this project, and Professor Ola Johansson and Amanda Newall for providing space and resources for this experimental project blending the private and public, overlapping social networks, and art. [Cover Image: Michael Harrison] Sugarcube Gallery Dalg�rdsv�gen 33 12133 Stockholm url http://sugarcubegallery.wordpress.com/ email email@example.com Sugarpress Sugarpress is a Stockholm based independent publisher focussing on the art book in material and/or digital forms. It issues publications associated with exhibitions-events at the Sugarcube Gallery as well as art books created in collaboration with artists and writers. ISBN: 978-91-979447-0-0