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Modern Art Oxford opens a major solo exhibition by Jesse Darling
Jesse Darling, Big Voice (Libidinal Economies 1), 2021. Image courtesy the artist.



OXFORD.- Modern Art Oxford presents No Medals No Ribbons, a major solo exhibition by Jesse Darling (b. Oxford, lives and works in Berlin) and the largest presentation of the artist’s influential work to date. Bringing together new and existing pieces made over the past decade, the exhibition presents artworks thematically, creating new narratives around Darling’s work.

Through installation, video, drawing, text, and sculpture, Darling works to expose how the systems of power - government, religion, ideology, empire and technology - can be as fragile and contingent as mortal bodies. From this perspective, they envisage forms of resistance to control, both individual and collective, using the phrase “Nothing is too big to fail” both as a call-to-arms and cause for hope.

Gravity Road (2020), Darling’s most ambitious steel sculpture, is the exhibition’s centrepiece, taking over the largest gallery at Modern Art Oxford. Like most of Darling’s works, it is evocative rather than representative: a dysfunctional rollercoaster invoking the origins of the leisure industry, while calling to mind the reconstructed skeleton of a dinosaur in a nod to histories of modernity and museums. Thinking through parallel narratives of coal mining and extraction, amusement parks and industrialisation, Darling highlights how philosophies and technologies underpinning empire, labour, pleasure and fear coalesce in this relic of modernity.

Darling’s practice explores the precarious and arbitrary nature of the dominant narratives about the world and our lives together. The artist gives new contexts to ordinary objects to make them appear strange, uncanny even, inviting us to look upon materials, histories and mythologies anew. They reflect on the mortality within everything, whether an ideology, a building, a body or an empire. This invites audiences to see impermanence as the condition that binds us together, within which we can find commonality and tenderness.

No Medals No Ribbons coincides with Darling's new commission at Camden Art Centre which takes place between 28 April – 27 June 2022 as part of their Freelands Lomax Ceramics Fellowship.

Jesse Darling is an artist working in sculpture, installation, video, drawing, text, and performance. They attended Central St. Martins College of Art and Design and Slade School of Fine Art, and have exhibited widely internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Gravity Road at Kunsteverein Freiburg in 2020, Crevé, La Friche Belle de Mai in Marseille in 2019 and The Ballad of Saint Jerome, ART NOW at Tate Britain, London in 2018. Darling’s works have featured in numerous group exhibitions around the world such as Crip Time, MMK Frankfurt (2021), 100 Drawings From Now, The Drawing Center, New York, NY (2020), Transcorporealities, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2019), May You Live In Interesting Times, 58th Venice Biennale, Venice (2019), Give Up the Ghost, Baltic Triennial 13, Tallinn (2018), Cellular World, Glasgow International, Glasgow (2018), Occasional Geometries, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017) and Bread and Roses, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2016). Darling has published texts in print and online including Art After the Internet (Cornerhouse Books, 2014); The Best British Poetry 2015 (Salt Press); Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2015); Documents of Contemporary Art: Translation (Whitechapel Press, 2020), as well as in Frieze, Artforum, Granta, Art Review and The New Inquiry. Their chapbook VIRGINS was published by Monitor Books in 2022.










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