For the first time the Festival curated two thematic group shows. At mima the exhibition focused on the raw material of metal as an agent of global power and financial control, in response to Middlesbrough’s role in the development of a global iron and steel industry. It included works by Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Simon Starling, Anja Kirschner & David Panos, Hito Steyerl and Walead Beshty.
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc: An Italian Film (Africa Addio)
An Italian Film (Africa Addio), 2012, confronts the contemporary and historic exploitation of copper in the Katanga region of Congo, a region repeatedly ravaged since its colonisation by the Belgian King Leopold II in the nineteenth century. Belgian entrepreneurs looted small copper crosses historically used as currency, and shipped them to Europe to be melted down and sold. Abonnenc has re-enacted this historical process by subjecting several copper crosses to a process of recasting at a foundry in Yorkshire.
Simon Starling: Gold Toned Okapi
In Gold Toned Okapi, 2007, Starling worked with an image of the okapi, an ancient relative of the giraffe, originally produced in 1913 by the scientist Herbert Lang in North East Congo, an area infamous for its unregulated gold mines and illegal trading. The gold toner used to fix Starling’s images was produced using gold manufactured by a Swiss refiner, traced back to traders in the Congo. These gold tainted photographs conflate different geographical points and moments in history, offering a subtle comment on international trade. UK Premiere.
Anja Kirschner & David Panos: Ultimate Substance
Ultimate Substance, 2012, departs from the hypothesis that the introduction of coinage in the ancient Greek world effected a profound cognitive shift that was key to the emergence of western philosophic, scientific and dramatic traditions. Filmed in and around the Numismatic Museum in Athens and in Lavriotiki, a mining district which was the source of wealth of the classical city-state, the video and accompanying installation point to the division between the sensual and the abstract that has persisted into our present.
Walead Beshty: 20-inch Copper
Walead Beshty’s series of copper boxes directly reveal the international shipment of the artwork and the labour involved in the process. These works were transported by Fed Ex, the American global courier delivery service, shipped with the label affixed directly onto the object meaning that the elements it encounters, ranging from the handler’s handprints to water and dirt, create a random visual pattern of stains, bumps, dents, and patina. The work reflects corporate power structures and the invisible labour involved in global dominancy.
Hito Steyerl: Strike
Hito Steyerl’s work addresses the physical realm of the ever-expanding ether of social media and virtual exchange. In Strike, 2010, she explores this to literal breaking point, by smashing a blank LCD screen with a hammer and chisel, in one simple and short action. The hammer and chisel, objects of labour, are laden with historical and political significance, recalling the imagery and sounds of protest and revolution. Screen is destroyed on-screen, and metal strikes metal; the physical strike is suggestive of a political strike against media itself.
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc was born in French Guiana, and lives and works in Metz, France. Recent solo exhibitions include: Songs for a mad king, Kunsthalle Basel, 2013; Kannibalen, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany, 2013; To Whom who Keeps a Record, Fondation Serralves, Porto, 2012; An Italian Film (Africa Addio), Pavilion, Leeds, 2012; and Foreword to Guns for Banta, Gasworks, London, 2011.
Simon Starling was born in Epsom in 1967, and lives and works in Copenhagen. His work has been widely exhibited internationally and in 2005 he was awarded the Turner Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include: Simon Starling: Metamorphology, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2014; Phantom Ride, Tate Britain, 2013; Simon Starling, Modern Art Oxford, 2013; Simon Starling: Recent History, Tate St Ives, 2011; and Project for a Masquerade, Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, 2011.
Anja Kirschner was born in Germany in 1977, and lives and works in Athens. David Panos was born in Greece in 1971 and lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Ultimate Substance, Secession, Vienna, 2012; Extra City, Antwerp, 2013; and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 2012/13. Recent group exhibitions include: The Magic of the State, Lisson Gallery, London, 2013; HELL AS, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013; Liverpool Biennial, FACT, Liverpool, 2012.
Walead Beshty was born in 1976 in London and lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include: A Partial Disassembling of an Invention without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in which the Pulleys and Cogwheels are Lying around at Random All over the Workbench, Curve Gallery, Barbican, London, 2014; Gastarbeiten, Capitain Petzel, Berlin, Germany, 2014; POST, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013; and Travel Pictures, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, 2012.
Hito Steyerl was born in Munich in 1966 and lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: Hito Steyerl, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 2014; Hito Steyerl, ICA, London, 2014; and 35 ways to break through a wall, Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany, 2014. She has participated in major international events including: Il Palazzo Encyclopedico, 55th Venice Biennial, 2013; Taipei Biennial, Taiwan, 2010; and Gwangju Biennial, South Korea, 2010.
Curated by AV Festival
Launch: Thu 27 February 2014, 6–8pm
Sat 1 March – Thu 24 April 2014
Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ
Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am–4.30pm, Thu 10am–7pm, Sun 12–4pm. Closed Mon