Nottingham Contemporary continues their fantastic programme with an ambitious show centered on art and ecology. Ringing in the new year, 'Rights of Nature. Art and Ecology in the Americas' sets out expose how the "European idea of human mastery of the planet was imposed on the Americas. In contrast, new forms of resistance are inspired by, and linked to, indigenous cultures that see themselves as part of an ecological continuum. 'Rights of Nature...' will deliver a strong focus on the Amazon, the Andes, the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico and is curated by TJ Demos and Alex Farquharson (Artistic Director, Nottingham Contemporary) with Irene Aristizábal (Head of Exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary).
One of the chosen press images for the exhibition is Minerva Cuevas' 2007 'Serie Hidrocarburos', which we selected back in 2008 for the cover of the catalogue of the exhibition 'Greenwashing. Environment: Promises, Perils and Perplexities' (29 February–18 May 2008) that we co-curated with Ilaria Bonacossa at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. In Turin, Cuevas' 2004 'Egalité' was displayed alongside another 'Rights of Nature' participant Amy Balkin who is also presenting her ongoing 'Public Smog' (2004–ongoing) project.
Art&Co Nº1, 'El arte después de la ecología' por Max Andrews (23 January 2008)
|Installation view of 'Smoke' (2013), a work by the 2014 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize winner Lisa Oppenheim. Two-channel video installation, looped. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London.|
As one of the 15 nominators, we have been invited to submit 2 artists for inclusion on a long list of 27. On a second stage, a separate jury of three, led by Adelina Vlas the associate curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), will select a shortlist of four from the long list – to be announced 23 June. Exhibitions will be mounted at the AGO and online, and the public will be invited to cast a vote for their choice to win the $50,000 CAD prize. The awardee will be announced on December 1, 2015.
Established in 2007, Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is the first major art prize to allow the public to choose its winner. It has a total annual prize value of over $100,000, with $50,000 awarded to the winner, $5,000 awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists and $25,000 supporting a national scholarship program for students studying photography at select institutions across Canada. The remainder funds six-week residencies for the four shortlisted artists at institutions across Canada.
In 2014 the $50,000 CAD prize was awarded to New York-based artist Lisa Oppenheim. In addition to the cash prize Oppenheim received a fully funded residency in Canada in early 2015. Runners-up David Hartt (Canada); Elad Lassry (Israel/USA); and Nandipha Mntambo (South Africa) each also received a six-week residency as well as $5,000 to support their artistic practices.
More on the prize here.
More on Latitudes' teaching, lecturing, jury duties, residencies, awards, etc.
In his sculptural work, David Jablonowski skillfully juxtaposes a broad spectrum of man-made and mass-produced materials in order to reflect on timely topics such as the status of objects and the flow of data through the lens of technology. We had seen his work in group shows (see this blog post), but having the chance to see his solo presentation 'Hype Cycle' at Fons Welters was a very welcome addition to our Amsterdam Art Weekend visit.
Jablonowski's interest in the complexity of today's networks of information and its technologies is manifested in a series of sculptures clustered as glass totems ('Prediction Tower, Hype Cycle 1' 2 and 3, all from 2014) or simple low shelves à la mode of still lives ('No Market Left Waiting To Merge (Taipei)', 2014). He favors working with contrasting materials in texture and warmth (e.g. reflecting glass vs. wicker baskets) constantly moving between the analogue and the digital (e.g. offset printing plates vs. LED screens). His sculptural arrangements belie their minimal appearance by incorporating organic materials such as dry orange slices, spices, leaves or rice crackers, often tricking the eye as to what is real and what is a prop. He plays, for example with the veracity of immaterial financial data against the seeming-artificiality of actually-present indexed produce – such as ears of grain.
'Hype Cycle' incorporates some of the elements from his recent Art Cologne presentation 'Hello Prediction! / Data Mining' (2014). One of the most intriguing pieces is 'Industrial3d Display', a 4 metre-long work arranged on the floor composed of materials such as aluminum, dried rye, peppers, plexiglass, Samsung LED screens, plaster, dried leaves and acrylic. This piece, one that best sublimates his conceptual and sculptural efforts, elegantly alloys all his concerns around the evolution of media and obsolescence, layering found video footage on two flat screens, used offset printing sheets folded in their corners and reed baskets containing ears of wheat. Jablonowski's choice of wheat is significant as the cultivation of this cereal was one of the main factors in the emergence of city societies. It was easily grown and could be stored over long periods of time as well as serving as a construction material.
Another imposing piece is 'New Trade Routes, Trade Alert' (2014), featuring one of the stars of the show: an 18th Century wooden wagon. 'New Trade Routes...' appears to lance any uneasy nostalgia for mankind as a tool-maker. Although similar wagons are doubtless still used in many communities today, the proximity to modern and contemporary items such as consumer objects and the trapping of newer technology (LED panels, aluminum printing plates, reproduction Chinese dim sum, etc.) turns the wagon into a sort of time-traveled artifact. It is as if it has become hardly recognizable as technology for the many of us more familiar to interacting with a touch screen than a horse harness.
The show is underscored by many of the social, technological and economic changes we are witnessing today. A pointed example of this is the graphic printed on a transparent sheet (typically used for overhead projectors in pre-PowerPoint corporate and educational presentations) and included in one of Jablonowski's totems. The Hype Cycle is "a branded graphical tool developed and used by IT research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. for representing the maturity, adoption and social application of specific technologies." The curve shows, for example, that Predictive Analytics reached the "Plateau of Productivity" phase as of July 2013.
It is interesting to put Jablonowski's work in the light of the nearby exhibition at SMBA with film work by Zachary Formwalt, which focuses on the progressive abstraction and remoteness of financial trade, taking as a point of departure the 1903 H.P. Berlage's Amsterdam Stock and commodities Exchange in contrast to the 2013 OMA-designed Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Both Jablonowski and Formwalt's approach resonates with our current research on artistic practice broadly inquiring on the circulation of raw materials, economic trade, information flows and technological obsolescence.
For better photo documentation of the show, check Fons Welters' website or Artsy.
David Jablonowski (1982) lives in Amsterdam and works with Fons Welters (Amsterdam), Lüttgenmeijer (Berlin), Max Wigram (London).
Report from Madrid: Apertura 2014 gallery and museums programme in tweets, 11–13 September (15 September 2014)
Report from London's Frieze week 2014 now on Storify (27 October 2014)
Report from the Amsterdam Art Weekend, 27–30 November 2014 now on Storify (2 December 2014)
"Esta puerta pide clavo" at Galerie Tatjana Pieters (22 June 2012)
Maaike Lauwaert write up of the exhibition on Artforum's Critics' Picks
This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.