Out of the living
Ian Hamilton Finlay, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, K.r.m Mooney, C. Spencer Yeh, Phillip Zach, with a text by Shulamith Firestone, curated by Ian Law.
5th September - 3rd October 2015
I realised recently, that for a while now I’ve been seeing and thinking the world through bodiless eyes. Beginning to find some way back to occupying one, a body, coincided with the invitation to put together this exhibition. I began to associate the works and lives of Absalon*, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Shulamith Firestone as boundary markers. These are people who in their lives had proposed ways of reconfiguring their surroundings to their body to address issues they had with the world-at-large, be it through architectural propositions for the individual body, the creation of a garden and publishing network in rural Scotland, or in the radical politics of Second-wave feminism; drafting cybernetic sketches that propose ways of dissolving the nuclear family to aid the emancipation of women.
Am I attempting to draw these lives together here in comparison? Not really, this would be a fairly convoluted and pointless construction. But what I hold from Firestone’s upturned refrigerator (found in the exhibited Frontispiece) is the sense of a retreat for survival, the search for something to make some other existence beyond the catastrophe**. This too for Absalon, although his structures offer solitude they were designed for use within the cities he most frequented, so not avoiding the social, or noise of city living; are they like some kind of reset button? These are coping structures, much like the garden is for Ian Hamilton Finlay, a border between himself and the outside world, one in which he can curb nature, language and through this reach out to a vast network of collaborators.
Through conversations and interactions with the work of K.r.m. Mooney, C. Spencer Yeh and discussion surrounding the new works made by Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Phillip Zach for the exhibition, we have these extrapolations of creative agents dealing with the stickiness of the world. They show how the borderlines between bodies, materials and institutions are totally smudged, we are caked in and complicit, cannot remove ourselves - there is no viable disassociation.
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Photography by Plastiques
Phillip Zach, Lossy flesh compression series (infection), 2015 Chipboard, melamine, acid dye, polyvinyl acetate, uv direct print 42 x 14 x 1.9 cm
K.r.m. Mooney, Circadian Tackle III, 2015 Boiled steel cable, de-housed electromagnetic lock, iron bath, steel key pick, polyurethane compound, machine inscribed steel, aluminum 135 x 40 x 3 cm
Detail: K.r.m. Mooney, Circadian Tackle III, 2015
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, No baby (Feminism didn't stop women having babies, capitalism did.*) 2015 Lazer etched birch ply 118 x 84 cm (unframed) 121 x 87 cm (framed) *With thanks to Rozsa Farkas for permission to use the title of her essay published in: How to Sleep Faster, issue 6 (2015)
Phillip Zach, Lossy flesh compression series (zombie), 2015 Chipboard, melamine, acid dye, polyvinyl acetate, uv direct print 42 x 14 x 1.9 cm
Ian Hamilton Finlay, Milestone: Wildflower, N, An Inflammatory Text, 1989 Limestone, with Keith Bailey 45.5 x 31 x 15 cm Courtesy of a Private Collection.
K.r.m. Mooney, Circadian Tackle II, 2015 Boiled steel cable, silver plated PlexiDor locking mechanism, organic compound cast, silver, aluminum, liver of sulfur 56 x 40.4 x 5 cm
Details: K.r.m. Mooney, Circadian Tackle II, 2015
Shulimath Firestone, Frontispiece, Airless Spaces Published by Semiotexte 1998
C. Spencer Yeh Vocalwork 2, 2015 Mono 9:43 Edition of 5 + 2AP
Phillip Zach, Lossy flesh compression series (break down), 2015 Chipboard, melamine, acid dye, polyvinyl acetate, uv direct print 81.7 x 12.1 x 1.9 cm
*This text was written during multi-pronged attempts to secure a loan of a work by Absalon for the exhibition. It did prove ultimately unsuccessful, but it didn’t feel appropriate to remove him retroactively from this thought process. Have a think or look back to the six cellules made between 1991-1992, here, on your phone if you’ve the inclination. **
This is the Firestone of Airless Spaces (1998), a collection of short stories and observations written about her experiences in and around the mental health institutions of New York, rather than the radical of The Dialectic of Sex (1970). I think it is here that Sidsel’s work steps into the exhibition to readdress the radical Firestone, as in a kind of loop to the discussion we had regarding her research on nervousness and recent works included in INSIDER (2014) at Cubitt, London.
With thanks to: Semiotext(e), Chris Kraus, Amy Budd, The Fales Library and Special Collections, The Estate of Absalon, Susanne Pfeffer, Dorett Mumme, Hester NYC, Freedman Fitzpatrick, Ingleby Gallery, The Estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Thomas A. Clark, Laurie Clark, Tamsin Clark, James Hoff, Primary Information. Sylvia Kouvali, Katy Green.
Shulamith Firestone (b. 1945, Ottawa, Canada. d. 2012 NYC) Shulamith Firestone was a central figure in the early development of radical feminism, having been a founding member of the New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists. In 1970 at the age of 25 she authored The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, a significant and widely influential feminist text. In 1998 Semiotext(e) published Airless Spaces, Firestone's first work of fiction. She died in New York in 2012.
Ian Hamilton-Finlay, (b. 1925, Nassau, Bahamas. d. 2006) Ian Hamilton-Finlay was brought up in Glasgow and the Orkney Islands. In the 1960’s he emerged as one of the leaders of the concrete poetry movement and over the next 40 years he became one of Scotland’s most distinguished artists: a poet, philosopher and gardener. His work has been exhibited in the great museums of the world, despite the artist himself rarely leaving his home in the Pentland Hills where he lived from 1966 until his death in 2006
Sidsel Meineche Hansen Upcoming exhibitions: Uncanny Valley, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge; Rehearsals in Instability, Andreas Huber Gallery, Vienna. Recent solo and group presentations include: ONE-self, Temporary Gallery & Künstlerhaus Bremen, Germany; Rehearsals in Instability, Andreas Huber Gallery, Vienna; (2015); INSIDER, Cubitt Gallery, London (2014). Je suis feministe, Penarth Centre, London (2014); Schizo-Culture:Cracks in the Street, Space, London (2014); J’ai froid, castillo/corrales, Paris, (2014); HIS HEAD part of Late Barbarians, Gasworks Gallery, London (2014). Seminars convened by the artist include: This is not a symptom, hosted by South London Gallery and Towards a physiological Novel, hosted by X marks the bokship (2011). Meineche Hansen studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen; Steadelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Goldsmiths College, London. In 2015 she co-edited ‘Politics of Study’, published by Open Editions. She currently works as an associate professor at the Funen Art Academy, Denmark and she will be a visiting scholar at CalArts, USA, in the fall, 2016.
K.r.m. Mooney (b. 1990, Seattle, US) lives and works in Oakland Recent Solo exhibitions include, En Set. CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2015); BwO, Bad Reputation in Los Angeles (2014); Understudy, n/a, in Oakland (2014); Spread Out as a Sensing Subject, Important Projects, Oakland (2013). Recent Duo Shows include: σ, Hester in New York (2015); Pose-bin for Still Action,Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco(2014). Recent Group Exhibitions include: Against Automatism, Fused Space, San Francisco (2015)
Small Pillow, Arcadia Missa, London, (2015) Under A Thawing Lake, Dark Arts International, Mexico City (2015) A Sentimental Education, Andreas Huber, Vienna, (2015). Mooney received a BFA in jewellery / metal arts from CCA in 2012.
C. Spencer Yeh (b. 1975, Taipei, Taiwan) is recognised for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist, composer and improviser, and for his music project Burning Star Core. Recent presentations of work include The Companion at the Liverpool Biennial, Modern Mondays at MoMA, In Tones From Light to Dark at Performa 13, Excursus IV at the ICA Philadelphia, Kinomuzeum at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami FL, Electronic Arts Intermix NYC, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston TX, and a Jerome Foundation Commission from Roulette Intermedium. Yeh also collaborated with Triple Canopy for their contribution to the Whitney Biennial in 2014. Recent recorded works include Ambient (with Robert Piotrowicz), 1975 (as C. Spencer Yeh), Transitions (as CS Yeh), and Wake Up Awesome, a collaboration with Okkyung Lee and Lasse Marhaug on the Software label. Primary Information published Solo Voice I – X in February 2015.
Phillip Zach (b.1984 Cottbus, Germany) studied at Städelschool, University of Fine Arts, Frankfurt (2009-2012), and University of Fine Arts Hamburg (2006 - 2009) Recent solo exhibitions include Shade Shifters, Koppe Astner, Glasgow (2015); Content is Fiction, New Jerseyy, Basel (2013) Hospital Postures, Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmö. Recent exhibitions include: Over you / you, The 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana (2015); G.I.F.T. (curated by Fabian Marti & Chuz Martinez), Der TANK, Basel (2015); they, them (curated by Tiril Hasselknippe), DREI, Cologne (2015) Clouds In The Cave, Fri Art, centre d’art de Fribourg / Kunsthalle Freiburg (2015).