Socialist Rock

Aleksandra Mir - Freddie on the Plinth

Aleksandra Mir is an artist with an extraordinary talent for finding and working with fascinating individuals whose stories span unpredictable arcs of social history and culture (it may be no coincidence that Aleksandra trained as an anthropologist).

Her class for Wide Open School is yet another example of her unparalleled ability to find unexpected links between things that, on the surface, seem miles apart, yet on closer inspection reveal definite affinities.  In this case, it’s a link between rock star iconography and Socialist Realism – or capitalist and communist propaganda.  Mir’s class explores the work of the amazing Czech sculptor Irena Sedlecká who once made large-scale commissions for the Communist regime and in 1991 received a commission from the band Queen to create a larger-than-life memorial statue of Freddie Mercury (check out the accompanying photos).

Julius Fucik by Irena Sedlecka

The classroom itself will include a display of Irena’s remarkable studies of the rock singer, providing food for thought about that strange cultural matrix where Socialist Realism meets Monumental Rock.  This class is a gift for anyone interested in figuring out new ways to think about art and 20th century history.

Book tickets to Aleksandra Mir’s class

wideopenschool.com

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Installing Jeppe Hein’s ingenious Invisible Labyrinth

Invisible Labyrinth

The technical team has just finished installing Jeppe Hein’s ingenious Invisible Labyrinth. For an invisible artwork, there’s a lot of visible gear – industrial struts stretch across the gallery’s 6 metre-high ceiling, supporting a grid of infra-red transmitters that beam signals down to the digital headphones that you wear to enter the piece. But when you’re ‘in’ it and the headphones are murmuring their vibrations in your ear, it’s a mind-boggling, wondrously disorienting experience of bumping into unseen walls and trying to ‘feel’ your way through a space you cannot see (and adding to its eeriness, one of seven different labyrinths is based on the one in the movie The Shining).

Book tickets for Invisible

Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957 – 2012
12 June – 5 August 2012

Invisible Art brings together works from the past half century that explore ideas related to the invisible and the hidden. The exhibition includes work by some of the most important artists of our time as well as younger artists who have expanded on their legacy.

From the amusing to the philosophical, there are works you can observe and others you can take part in, such as Jeppe Hein’s Invisible Labyrinth. From Yves Klein’s utopian plans for an ‘architecture of air’ to Robert Barry’s Energy Field (AM 130 KHz) from 1968 – which encourages a heightened awareness of the physical context of the gallery- this exhibition span diverse aesthetic practices and concerns.

Many of the works in Invisible seek to direct our attention towards the unwritten rules and conventions that shape our understanding of art. Other works invoke invisibility to underscore the limits of our perceptual capacities or to emphasize the role of our imagination in responding to works of art.  Some use invisibility as a metaphor that relates to the suppression of information or the political disappearance and marginalization of social groups.

Artists in the exhibition include Art & Language, Robert Barry, Chris Burden, James Lee Byars, Maurizio Cattelan, Jay Chung, Song Dong, Tom Friedman, Carsten Höller, Tehching Hsieh, Bruno Jakob, Yves Klein, Lai Chih-Sheng, Glenn Ligon, Teresa Margolles, Gianni Motti, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol.

Invisible crate

We were unpacking invisible artworks over the weekend as we prepare to begin installing the Invisible exhibition in the gallery this week. Of course, as you might imagine there’s not a lot to unpack.  But one of the most interesting art crates I’ve ever come across holds Tom Friedman’s 1992 sculpture Untitled (A Curse), which he made by hiring a professional witch to curse a spherical area above an otherwise unoccupied pedestal.  The crate not only includes a padded space for the custom-made pedestal, but also includes a specially rounded area for the invisible cursed sphere above it. ( It would’ve been nice to see the look on the inspecting officer’s face when that  piececame in through customs. )

The biggest drawing you might not even notice

Image

Lai Chih-Sheng, a wonderful artist from Taipei, arrived in the gallery today to begin creating the largest drawing I’ve ever seen for Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957 – 2012. The drawing fills up our entire Gallery 3 (which is something like 18 metres by 22 metres by 4.5 metres high).  Yet he assured us that it will be almost completely invisible.  Along with three assistants helping him, Lai Chih-Sheng is meticulously drawing over every existing edge in the gallery – in other words, any place where two walls meet, or the wall and the floor, or the lines in a concrete column, etc.  It is painstaking work that requires great patience, and the gallery has a atmosphere of intense concentration right now as they begin this epic invisible project.

By Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery

Book tickets for Invisible

Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957 – 2012
12 June – 5 August 2012

Invisible Art brings together works from the past half century that explore ideas related to the invisible and the hidden. The exhibition includes work by some of the most important artists of our time as well as younger artists who have expanded on their legacy.

From the amusing to the philosophical, there are works you can observe and others you can take part in, such as Jeppe Hein’s Invisible Labyrinth. From Yves Klein’s utopian plans for an ‘architecture of air’ to Robert Barry’s Energy Field (AM 130 KHz) from 1968 – which encourages a heightened awareness of the physical context of the gallery- this exhibition span diverse aesthetic practices and concerns.

Many of the works in Invisible seek to direct our attention towards the unwritten rules and conventions that shape our understanding of art. Other works invoke invisibility to underscore the limits of our perceptual capacities or to emphasize the role of our imagination in responding to works of art.  Some use invisibility as a metaphor that relates to the suppression of information or the political disappearance and marginalization of social groups.

Artists in the exhibition include Art & Language, Robert Barry, Chris Burden, James Lee Byars, Maurizio Cattelan, Jay Chung, Song Dong, Tom Friedman, Carsten Höller, Tehching Hsieh, Bruno Jakob, Yves Klein, Lai Chih-Sheng, Glenn Ligon, Teresa Margolles, Gianni Motti, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol.

The Planets Live at Southbank Centre

Step inside one of the most popular pieces of classical music, Holst’s The Planets, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen on Sunday 8 July, 3pm at Royal Festival Hall.

The Orchestra explore the piece from the inside out, using large-screen projection, musical demonstrations and interviews to bring it to life.

This film gives you a taster of the music in their digital interactive instillation Universe of Sound, a virtual Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen performing The Planets at London’s Science Museum from 23 May – 8 July.

You can hear the Philharmonia Orchestra perform the piece in full at Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 8 July,  alongside Joby Talbot’s new companion piece World, Stars, Systems, Infinity. Find out more/book tickets

The Wire’s Rob Young discusses the subtleties of British music, film & TV

Rob Young is Editor-At-Large of The Wire – the British avant-garde music magazine – and author of Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music – the acclaimed book about the history and evolution of British folk music. Young comes to Southbank Centre on Wednesday 14 March to talk about the hidden histories of British film and television.

The talk is held as part Jeremy Deller: Joy In People, one of Hayward Gallery’s current exhibitions, and in association with Faber Social, the events arm of publishing house Faber & Faber.

We have a pair of tickets and a signed copy of Electric Eden… to give away. All you have to do is answer the following question:

Jeremy Deller co-directed a music video for the song ‘Found That Soul’ by which Welsh rock band?

Send your answers to competitions@southbankcentre.co.uk with the subject line ‘Rob Young’. Closing date for entries is midday Tuesday 13 March.

You can buy tickets for Through The Polygon Window on Wednesday 14 March, by visiting the website now.

David Shrigley: Brain Activity video

I really looked forward to making this video with David on my last visit to his studio in Glasgow before we began installing the show in London. David is most at ease in his studio, which is very clean and organised. This surprises a lot of people as they expect huge amounts of chaos and disarray based on the nature of his drawings.

David was excited to show me his new paintings on paper for the show, a series of over 40 brightly coloured works that now line the corridor connecting the two upper galleries. Although I had read that he discards about three-quarters of his work, I was quite taken aback by the amount of cold rationalisation and discpline required to destroy over 100 finished paintings in order to narrow the selection down to the right ones.

The new bronzes that he shows me have been made from hand-shaped wax and then direct cast – some are silver-plated. The hammer has a smiley face on it and I love the idea that as you bang and smash things with it, you leave a trail of happy faces behind. I don’t think we’ll be appearing on the cover of The Source anytime soon wearing the curatorial bling – this is a good thing as neither of us would be able to keep a straight face.

southbankcentre.co.uk/shrigley
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