22nd July – 25th September 2011
This July Camden Arts Centre presents the first UK solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist, David Askevold. From the end of the 1960s to his death in 2008, Askevold was a pioneer in experimental video, sound, photography and text and an influential teacher at some of America’s most celebrated art schools, notably CalArts, Valencia, CA and Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Halifax, NS.
This survey of his work brings together seminal pieces from the 1970s, his most
important installations, with documentation of later performances and collaborative
works he made with artists Mike Kelly and Tony Oursler. David Askevold runs at
Camden Arts Centre from 22 July – 25 September 2011 and admission is free.
Mainly working with photographs which were often accompanied by text, Askevold
challenged the accepted understanding of Conceptual Art’s photo/text work by
producing pieces which were ambiguous and intricate, with a haunting, poetic
quality, calling together aspects of the occult and the grotesque. These celebrated
pictures from the mid-1970s are full of multiple exposures, reflections, burns, and
Image:David Askevold The Poltergeist
Many of the works evoke the spirits of past figures as well as particular places in
North America and Canada. One series of works draws on the astrological ideas of
Johannes Kepler while another reveals the opposing personalities of two country
and western singers Hank Williams and Hank Marvin. Oscillating between Lovecraft
and Kenneth Anger, the experimental and the pop, Western film and symbolism,
science and Romanticism, the works he produced post 1970 compromise the
objectivity of language – words, images, sounds – through their complex layering.
Videos, music, sounds and surreal imagery collide in the exhibition, pervading
the galleries with an ethereal atmosphere. Askevold had sensitivity towards the
supernatural, the unexplained and the barely visible. Drawn to the world of arcane
knowledge, he was interested in the pseudo sciences, such as pop psychology and the occult and explored trance, hypnosis and altered consciousness within his work. His collaborations with both Mike Kelly and Tony Oursler share this sensibility and both contain diverse imagery from a number of different sources.
Curated by Anne Pontegnie, the exhibition is organised in collaboration with Le
Consortium, Dijon. David Askevold is on show at Camden Arts Centre at the same time as an exhibition by French artist Mathilde Rosier.