These are some photos from the Amerika exhibition in London, Camberwell, showing some of the work previously included in the USA exhibition.
Compulsary reading before tonight’s opening: Alasdair Duncan’s accompanying essay for the Amerika show!
Here is the link:
The USA show has ended, but will soon travel to London, to be part of Amerika: idea; fantasy; dream; myth; image, opening at the Camberwell Space on the 7th of January 2014!
Amerika: idea; fantasy; dream; myth; image
08 Jan – 14 Feb 2014
Opening reception: 7 January, 5.30 – 8pm
‘Amerika‘ is an exhibition exploring the different ways in which America is viewed and thought of by non-Americans, and the ways in which these ideas are variously represented by artists in their work.
Many of the artworks on display show incomplete ideas which conjure a sense of place and evoke the mythological magic of the country which has inspired so many artists, filmmakers, writers and poets to try to capture its essence over the years.
Amerika is organised by Alasdair Duncan, with Jack Lovell, and Mike Merkenschlager.
Image: Magdalena Wisniowska
Please check their site for more information:http://ual.force.com/apex/EventFormPage?id=a0RD0000009YQ39MAG&book=true
In regular intervals the beautiful woodlands of California blaze away in devastating forest fires. Soon after new trees grow in the very same places to await their inevitable fate in this repetitive and painful process of renewal. One might see a parallel to business culture in Silicon Valley and Joseph Schumpeter’s idea of destructive creation or just enjoy a depiction of burnt trees. Even though the picture might look like a hand drawing it was actually created by a custom software running on a computer designed in California. RA 2013
All of my recent work, no matter how abstract it might seem to an unsuspecting audience, has as its origin everyday life. By wiping away carefully built-up layers of paint, I have depicted many of my immediate surroundings: the trees outside my window, the buildings across the courtyard, the distant rooftops and their chimneys. Those more familiar with my painting would say it has an element of Edward Hopper’s work. Both the subject matter and the light quality are similar.
However, this aspect of my painting practice is not something that I have willingly acknowledged and actively pursued. To paint the way Edward Hopper did, uncritically and without self-consciousness, seemed to me an indulgence that I would not, could not, afford.
For me, ‘Amerika’ as a site of collective dreams, myths and fantasies offers a place for such indulgence. It is that imaginary space where I can look out of the window and paint simply what I see. And in this particular arrangement of roofs, brickwork, shuttered windows and blue sky I do see a Hopper painting, with the lonely figure about to step out on the white-railed balcony. MW2013
A young Vietnamese man poses with a US soldier. The American is holding the remains of an amputated arm, removed to prevent the Vietnamese man from dying of an infected gunshot wound. In a gesture of gratitude to the American, the cleaned bone was offered as a keepsake. Unlike many who received similar war gifts, the US soldier eventually returned to Vietnam. This year the missing arm was finally reunited with its owner.
Jack Lovell currently lives and works in London. His practice explores the hidden complexity and materiality of the found photograph. The use of enigmatic staged photography invites the viewer to consider the space that exists inside a ‘simulated reality’. JL 2013
I’m interested in the potential of images within image-literate societies: as visual information, as surrogates for ideas and as things. In Crossed Fingers, we see a familiar hand gesture staged for the camera. In the 1950s an American safe company used this image to criticise our reliance on luck and our faith in the supernatural. But images have a habit of not being the best at doing what they were intended to do. So what does this image mean now, here, and now, and now?
Mike Merkenschlager is a London-based visual artist, working primarily with photographic images. MM 2013
Alasdair Duncan, who co-organised USA, makes signs that are stand-ins, emblems for things that are yet to be. He’s long been interested in America as an abstract ideal, a kind of promise of something vaguely but certainly better, which is not firmly coupled to the reality of the place of America. His poster functions as an advertisment for the show by standing in for an idea, a placeholder of what the show might be. It superimposes a colour saturated sign – the exact meaning of which is held at bay – over an old photograph of New York – a fetishistic image – turned on its side. AD 2013