* pinch * to zoom presents an ongoing collaboration between Beatrice Vorster and Elli Antoniou, who have been long-time friends and studio companions.The nature of their working process makes it virtually impossible for them to be in the studio simultaneously: B’s sound-based practise requires attentive listening, whilst E’s process is supported by a loud compressor. So, B would work in the mornings, and E would work at night. Both of their works are infused with each other’s delayed presence; a series of imagined love letters between friends and collaborators. Their collaborative process involves gentle mark making, with their imagery resurfacing in each other’s pieces through digital extrusion and glitchy repetitions. The works embrace decay, the slow erosion of material flux. Both are concerned with transformation of matter: presenting the parallel of adolescent metamorphosis with the shifting status of metal. The central modular system, triple axel (2023), draws together these fictions and presents a site. The gallery space is reimagined as a public square - the site of encounters, of spending time, of loitering, of making your mark and reading traces of others. It is where teenagers spend time outside of domestic or school spaces. Where metals rust and glass scratches. These sediments of public spaces presented as layers washing over each other revealing varying stages of decay and accumulation as they fall in and out of synch.
I may have bitten off more than I can chew comes from an ongoing dialogue between artists Natalia Janula and Joanna Wierzbicka. Both of their work investigates bodily fragility and the ambiguous, often obscure connection between domesticity and technology, futurism, and decay. The Generation & Display show will be an open invite for a unique ‘dining’ experience featuring numerous culinary specialties. Regional aspic (a humorous take on East European vegetable and meat encased in jelly), plexiglass sculptures, latex assemblages, kinetic sculptures, edible units, kebab-like creatures, a cake with a tongue, kinetic fingers, moulding squishy forms. Janula and Wierzbicka are interested in the edible matter and its ability to shape memories, rituals, communities which then become mutually transformative relationships between food and consumer. With a pinch of salt, they also explore food as poetic, metaphorical, discursive, nutritional, and sculptural material.
‘Everything at Once’ features new works by artists Amba Sayal-Bennett and Richard Dean Hughes. The exhibition draws together sculptures that use varying methods, such as enfolding, contradiction, and reference, to explore the fluid relation objects have to space and time. Such mechanisms are agitators, affecting movement both within and outside of the works. Sayal-Bennett and Dean Hughes consider the capacity of objects to condense multiple histories as living mirrors of the world, portals which are sometimes opaque or unresolved in form.
Mudlark brings together a variety of works – ranging from jewellery to installation – that investigate the post-human body via the artist’s experience of manoeuvring within an increasingly complex world. Materials are inclusive to whatever might be to hand and lend itself to the artistic process. In the artists’ practices a prioritised material awareness finds kinship with that of ‘mudlarks’ — street children who survived by scavenging and trading valuables they could find on the banks of the River Thames, during the 19th century. Getting to the river banks to forage was not without risk; it implied descending over slippery steps and slopes at low tide to comb through junk, bones and broken crockery. The artists apply themselves likewise, descending into the mud and silt of collective experience to extract fresh aspects and potentialities; they employ metaphor that transcends or evades the literal; they use images that communicate the experience of estrangement; they develop tools and methods toadapt to the environment; they employ symbols that fend and protect, and derive an essence from the mud that might just be an elixir. At the banks of the Thames, low tide reveals while high tide reconfigures — a dynamic as revelatory as it may be disquieting.
Generation & Display is excited to announce the opening of Yasmin Vardi’s solo exhibition Sweatshop. The show presents a series of new works that depart from the process of perspiration (sweat) — an internal process that manifests stress,
modifying temperature, as well as an intimate manifestation of effort and pleasure.The works deal with information trade and emotions as commerce, highlighting the intricate enmeshment of technology with bodies, exploitation, violence and labor.
Vardi manipulates historical archives related to the ‘two-penny hangover’ from Victorian England. The penny sit-up was one of the first homeless shelters created in London. Clients were purchasing the temporary right to lean on a rope so that they
could fall asleep whilst sitting without the risk of falling.
Vardi is a London based artist and filmmaker primarily concerned with trauma, the spatio-social apparatuses of currency and power structures. Her works experiment with the politics of form, biopower & biopolitics. Vardi graduated with her MFA at the Slade school of the arts, UCL, London (2021). She presented her work in various venues such as open city documentary festival London (2021), The venice biennale for architecture (2021), TISFF- The Experimental Film & Video Competition (2020), London Architecture festival (2020), CCA Tel-Aviv (2019) and more.
“The main task today is to reinvent utopia. Out of the pure urge of survival you have to invent a new space.” Slavoj Žižek Reinventing Utopia - artists can go someway towards visualising such a space, a re-imagining of utopia. Utopia, not in the sense of an imagined place in which everything is perfect, but bringing it closer to its original Greek meaning no-place and eutopia meaning good place. Now more than ever there is a need to re-invent a new space. Covid brought crisis and tragedy but also a space to re-think and an urgency for change. This show of contemporary sculpture, painting and photography creates an arena in which to explore ideas around reinventing utopia, towards a different kind of space, a better future.
Penrose Helix alludes to the theme of surveillance via the motif of the tower. Towers are landmarks, international figures that typify the idea of progress. The United States no longer boasts the tallest towers; contemporary military superpowers send the top of the tower — the all-seeing eye — straight to space with a rocket, skipping the need for spiral staircases altogether. Down below on the surface, their market system still relies on the ascension of a staircase, but similarly to the Super Mario 64 obstacle ‘Endless Stairs’, the capitalist staircase can forever be climbed, without making any progress. Ascension has become illusional, and we no longer know who the observer is and who the observed.
Amelie Mckee’s work operates as a dissection of delivery systems. Long house, an industrialised birth canal, questions the commodification of babies as they are increasingly approached as an embodiment of family values and used as a vehicle to portray the self in the online realm. Pilot Solutions, a series of sculptures, is inspired by drones situated between romantic ideals of flight and dystopian war devices. The work points at debates around the increase of mechanical devices affiliated to the body and the strategy of modification that seeks to avoid surveillance technology (Aposematic Display I).
Melle Nieling’s new video work displays the ascension from corporeality to virtuality; shifting from the physical realm to algorithmically predicted materiality, we experience the stream of consciousness of an artificial intelligence as it is born and has its first realisations.
On the Making of Maggots by Ma Baocheng unfolds through an illusionary ever rising musical tone. The piece prods at the idea of Progress portrayed in mass culture via the glorification of technological vessels and renders a bitter aftertaste left by the bombardment of hyper positive commercials.
Louise Jensen Ørsted’s recent work explores notions of piracy. In her collaboration with Amelie Mckee she experiments with body worn spy cameras, exploring a scenario where one’s environment can be recorded without the knowledge of passers-by.
Penrose Helix features a publication with texts by Alex Quicho, Sonia Bernac, Ayla Dmyterko, Esme Boggis, Lucy Holt and Francesca Laura Cavallo. Graphic design by Can Yang, and edited by Ed Hands.
Planetary Dysphoria explores humanistic and existential perspectives on climate change: an emergent aesthetic tied to notions of melancholy and uncertainty. We are experiencing a state of unease and dissatisfaction suffusing our economic, social and cultural life, engendered by a newfound sensitivity to the real and imagined destruction of Earth. The continuously increasing discomfort and urgency that pervades public debate on climate change have caused a global sense of an uncertain future. A new generation of artists is responding to this collective anxiety, pairing future thinking and the Anthropocene with ideas of fiction and truth, temporality and memory, escapism and shame. Planetary Dysphoria presents painting, sculpture, installation, digital print and photography. Ayse Kipri’s wall-mounted structures points to the construction cycle of urban landscapes where derelict buildings are knocked down, erased and replaced; raising questions around memory, time and the importance of place. Andreea Ionascu’s installations are explorations of artificial realities and metamorphic narratives researching limits and rifts, creating tactile languages through the absence of visual specificity and the potential of a shared contemporary perspective. Araminta Blue’s paintings interrogate contradictions in human nature: control and protection, exploration and destruction, the hero and the parasite. Mert Acar photographs the borders between city and country side, investigating hybrid lands as both expressions of current environmental conditions and as constructed realities. Michela de Nichilo explores aesthetic judgement and ideas of value in relation to the vulnerability and potentiality of nonhuman beings and the current ecological crisis. For Planetary Dysphoria she is focusing on a domestic setting, interrogating the idea of the aquarium, ornamental fish and artificiality. Sofia Bonato looks at the role of the individual, escapism and subtle manifestations of collective anxiety. Her digital prints employ playful post-internet imagery, nodding at consumer culture and the continuous paradox of recycling and wasting. Planetary Dysphoria is curated by Art Elsewhere and Sara Thorsen Fredborg and hosted by Generation & Display with the generous support of Queensrollahouse Artists’ Studios.
Glitzy woven curtains with dense white paint working its way through the surface, causing the fabric to drape and shimmer. Small duo chromes sitting side by side: two colour gouache on partly exposed canvas, vibrant colours meticulously juxtaposed. Tarpaulin, stretched onto the wall, sporadically decked with soft white clouds of paint. Privileging materials as her starting point, Samantha McEwen searches for contrast and balance. She samples, experiments, and dissects, acknowledging and celebrating the potential of fabricated materials in their meeting with the paint. Bower Paintings, presented at Generation & Display, nods to McEwen’s Scottish upbringing and her understanding of nature – not as aesthetics, landscape, specimens or the physical world, but as sensations of balance and tranquillity: an energy that can be carefully recreated in her painting. It is neither nostalgic, sentimental nor restricted to a life lived outside the city. McEwen spent the early days of her career in New York during contemporary art’s move towards the urban, with pop and graffiti in ascendance. Although knowingness and pop culture reverberate through her work, the obvious references are jettisoned – what is retained is the pop-art tradition of breaking the world down to shiny surfaces; an approach that she has sophisticated and matured. Mass-produced materials we know from city landscapes, the glass and steel that constantly surrounds us, are abstracted, imitated, and converted into or onto canvases. The bold and insistent colours of the 21st-century urban, commercial and digital aesthetics are tamed and stripped into semi-abstractions, peacefully layered and composed, barely hinting at the visual turmoil of the contemporary moment from which they came. All that remains is peace, balance, glitter, gouache and tarpaulin.
Generation & Display is excited to present Calibrations, Sally Webber’s inaugural solo exhibition in London, curated by Rowena Chiu. Living and working between Brighton and London, Webber is an avid walker who draws inspiration from daily perambulations through her cityscapes. Collecting and examining discarded objects from extended explorations in the manner of an archaeologist or forensic scientist, she works with the poetic and aesthetic possibilities of found material. Realigning objects through pared-down adjustments, Webber creates ephemeral and oftentimes playful works. Celestial Planisphere, 2013, consists of a brilliant yellow street sign that has had its original text reduced to the languorous sentence ‘Moon O … Sun O’. Folding a metal street sign as though it were a scrap of paper discarded by a disappointed lottery player, Untitled (sign), 2018, obliterates its original text to spell a bold proclamation: ’LOSE’. The folded object retains the physicality of a street sign within its new format, whilst simultaneously proposing something altogether more abstract. Untitled, 2011, is a monochrome hand-print produced using a piece of found wood that Webber later identified as a supporting section of a headboard. Considering the notion of construction, Webber repeated the print along the entire length of a readymade paper scroll, allowing the sheet’s predetermined scale to set the work’s perimeters. The result is an image that resembles a bustling crowd of surreal personnages or a cluster of primitive totems. Untitled, 2010, reminiscent of an abstract geometric composition, is a pressing from a fragment of pavement that Webber found in Glasgow. Though ephemeral at first glance, specks of dirt ingrained within the work hint at its origins. Working sympathetically with discarded objects that catch her eye, Webber’s practice reveals a distinct respect for material. Speaking of her process, Webber describes her practice as ‘a game of cards: a game in which I must endeavor not to undo any of the objects’ existing beauty, whilst carefully assembling something new.’
I have to erase my memory in order to remember. The things I never thought I had lost. Which of them have I forgotten? I look at them. In one of them, someone is wearing a shiny red jacket and a kind of stole or wide scarf made of white fur, presumably ermine. There are sinuous rills of dark hair, a splendid beard, a red cap rests jauntily on his head. One hand is elegantly holding a pair of gloves, the other is adorned with several rings, the fingers are stretched out coquettishly. Someone is wearing a blue dress with a red shawl draped artfully around it. The long blond hair is tied together at the neck. The head is bent, she looks downward. And is wearing large brown wings on her back. Another person next to her in a dark dress with red stockings and boots has one hand resting on the hips; the other is very gently and carefully holding the hand of the larger one and gazing dreamily at her. One hundred faces are peeled off like masks to reveal the one concealed behind. Everything that happens is merely snatched. Lost in memory, it evades every rule and form of control. Just as I got close enough to stretch out my hand to greet them, they turn their backs and walk away. Gravedigger mentality.
The latest in a series of two-person shows at Generation and Display Laura Yuile's work spans sculpture, video, and performance. Dealing with issues of class and the over-complication of basic human needs, collisions occur between the natural and the synthetic; interiority and exteriority; the permanent and the perishable; the wholesome and the polluted. The resulting installations often combine ready-made objects and found images with perishable ingredients such as coffee beans, flour, or soap; employ home-spun techniques of production and draw upon the global language of advertising. Laura Yuile lives and works in London. Previous exhibitions include World Interiors, Savoy Centre, Glasgow; The Capital, Vulpes Vulpes, London, England; Co-Pourri, Caustic Coastal, Manchester, England (2015); Welcome to Ecumenopolis, The Arts Foundations, Athens, Greece (2015); and Conversation of Monuments, Collective, Edinburgh, Scotland (2014).
Keep it Simple Stupid! is a group show consisting of 24 artists now (or at one time) based in London, connected through work, mutual respect, and moreover, friendship. The works in the show may have connections and similarities reflective of this closeness, some may be present on the surface, others less visible, tenuous but still real. Other artists are always present in artists’ lives, in their works, their studios, often to a fault. When other artists are expelled in order to work unencumbered, friends stick around. I organized this exhibition, the first in a new gallery, to reflect what I love most about the art world = my friends. Some of them are in this exhibition. Others aren’t. I hope we are still friends. I thought I had all of your phone numbers, but in organizing this, I found I didn’t… I do have your email addresses though. Other differences have been discovered. Some debated, some left to bubble under the surface. So there are similarities but differences too. True among friends, and true throughout the works here on display. What links these artists together may seem tenuous but is definitely real. They are friends.