The apocalyptic art by some of the finest international names of Urban Contemporary production is featured in the joined exhibition The Atrocity Exhibition 2.0. Brought to us by the Reed Projects Gallery and Nuart and curated by Martyn Reed, the authors featured in the show are: John Fekner (US), Axel Void (ES), Jeff Gillette (US), Jussi Twoseven (FI), Kim Byung Kwan (KR), Spazuk (CA), Nina Ghafari (IR), Isaac Cordal (ES), Dotdotdot (NO), Line Osmundsen (NO), Martin Whatson (NO), Pure Evil (UK), Wan HO (NO/CH), Carl Cashman (UK). Following the success of the show in Oslo, it is this time, the public in Stavanger is awarded and offered a glimpse into the trends of both national and international urban creativity.
The title of the exhibition is a direct reference to the novel of the same name by JG Ballard. The gallery and the production team used the following quote by JG Ballard to paint the theme and the atmosphere of the exhibited pieces “Apocalypse. A disquieting feature of this annual exhibition — to which the patients themselves were not invited — was the marked preoccupation of the paintings with the theme of world cataclysm, as if these long incarcerated patients had sensed some seismic upheaval within the minds of their doctors and nurses.” The exhibition sets out to explore and present a series of themes common to both the late 1960’s (when the mentioned book was published) and to reflect on the present and all of its anxieties. The time, which the novel describes, is the time of war, disaster, and violence and for Ballard, the events of 1969 described in the book are a culmination of the devastating state the world found itself in.
For many, The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard was his most important work that is read like an instruction manual offering tips on how to disrupt the mass media and decontextualize technology. Similarly, the exhibited artworks, covering a range of styles and references, explore the dirty, underbelly of contemporary pop culture, celebrity politics, neoliberal economics and the ever-growing feeling of alienation and loneliness created as a today’s survival mechanism. What the works also offer is a deeper understanding in the way contemporary creatives represent the urban world around us and what tools they use at the time of the dawning of “ smart” cities.
The international and national 14 painters featured in the Atrocity Exhibition 2.0 come from both the background of urban creativity and also from the more traditional Studio based practice. Proudly brought to the Stavanger public by the joined efforts of the Reed Projects Gallery and Nuart it introduces some of the finest names to the gallery’s roster. Lasting from July 21st until August 14th, 2016, the exhibition aims to challenge the public and its understanding of the world around us. Are we at the end and is the apocalypse near?
All images courtesy of the artists, Reed Projects Gallery and Nuart. Featured image in slider: Axel Void – Artwork.
Stavanger , Norway