Hew Locke, Kingdom of the Blind #1, 2008, Mixed media, 245 x 130 cm
26th January -3rd March 2012
Curated by Gordon Cheung
Gordon Cheung ,Laurence Edwards ,Robin Friend ,Alex Hoda , Nicolai Howalt , Hew Locke ,Rui Matsunaga , Richard Mosse ,Kelly Richardson , Piers Secunda
Immortal Nature explores various realisations of the prophesised end of the world in the year 2012. Encompassing a range of media, the exhibition is split across Edel Assanti’s three floors, invoking the mythological prism of the Underworld, Earth and the Afterlife. These distinct realms undertake a psycho-geographical investigation of the tensions, conflicts and hopes surrounding civilisation’s ever-changing relationship with the natural world.
The Underworld presents Kelly Richardson’s video Leviathan, in which a phantom swamp landscape perpetuates an atmosphere of timeless limbo. Robin Friend’s powerful images of disused mines capture existent underworlds, toxically claustrophobic spaces fused with an otherworldly magical realism. Alex Hoda’s dismembered sculptures convey a repressed menace through figurative groupings of deformed, post-apocalyptic organic forms bound together and consumed by rubber.
Earth poses a violent depiction of present day reality. Piers Secunda’s solid slabs of paint bear testimony to the instant in which they were ruptured by rifle bullets fired by soldiers of the army of the People’s Republic of China. Richard Mosse’s photographs employ the use of infrared film to transform the artist’s images of the war torn landscapes of the Congo into unsettling, surrealist scenes, illuminated by a spectrum of infrared light. Nicolai Howalt’s jarring images capture an ambiguity between the crumpled metal detritus of a car crash, and the suggestion of aerial geological strata.
The Afterlife presents Hew Locke’s wall assemblage of uber-kitch gold toys and fake flowers, coalesced into a deity presiding over disposable consumerist values. Situated against the backdrop of the Financial Times stock listings, Gordon Cheung’s painted landscapes oscillate between prophetic utopian and dystopian hallucinations on our actual reality. Rui Matsunaga’s paintings convey visions of animistic worlds, witnessing humanity undergoing organic mutations, pointing towards a collective human desire to return to a symbiotic relationship with nature. Similarly, Laurence Edwards’ bronze sculpture purveys a captivating vision of man’s simultaneous emergence from and absorption into the natural landscape, postulating a final material fate for our species.