The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Ed Atkins creates a new series of works for exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau
Ed Atkins, “Old Food”, 2017.Installation view, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin © Ed Atkins, Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels.

BERLIN.- A gigantic baby, a foppish boy and a drowned man weep, drool and eat grotesque sandwiches of shit, corpses, flags and masks, failing to learn anything. A nameless crowd careens down a hole, forever – or forms letters in choreographed formation. A spartan, looping piano piece by Jürg Frey is performed in a concrete cell, a hermit’s cot and a bucolic garden in midsummer. Reflexive information panels by “Contemporary Art Writing Daily” essay a barbaric real world entirely absent from the exhibition. Credits roll to denote an ending that never begins, and social media corporations sponsor everything, seemingly unbidden.

Ed Atkins is one of the most distinctive representatives of a generation of artists explicitly responding to digital media’s ever-increasing ubiquity; Atkins creates worlds of crazed artificiality and desperate realism. His computer-generated videos feature shabby, lonely protagonists with disarming and marked fidelity. His animations demonstrate their digital constitution – their near-total artifice – even as they simultaneously strive for a disturbing level of lifelikeness. Atkins’ works get under the viewer’s skin, rendering a queasy corruption of substance, both material and concept – just as the idea of “Old Food” raises a suspicion of use squandered, of goodness spoiled.

For his exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau and the programme Immersion, Atkins has created a new series of works that build upon the allegorical possibilities of his particular brand of video making, shifting the aesthetic into ever more precarious areas of desire, historicity, melancholia and stupidity. Atkins is known for a series of video installations peopled by CGI surrogates, animated by motion capture performances and voiced by the artist himself. In his more recent work, the artist has expanded his exploration of the medium, tempering affecting autobiographical figuration with broader issues arising as a consequence of the form’s exponential preponderance. Where previously death was the precondition of love and the logical end point to the wants of representation, “Old Food” presents a system that’s at once less morbid and far less romantic. The world of “Old Food” is alwaysalready lost, persisting regardless, with no mortal redemption in sight.

Like McDonald’s hamburgers, “Old Food” never rots, never moulders – it simply persists, a world of melancholy where what was lost remains outside the possibility of ever being understood, let alone retrieved.

“Old Food” is Atkins’ largest installation to date. Videowalls and flat screens depict a choreographed chamber drama of dubious sentimentality and historical inaccuracy. Caricature and parable collide in a nostalgic no-place of derailed escapism, conjuring both recent Fantasy television phenomena, and any fantasy’s failure to distract from a resurgent literalism concerning the romantic possibilities of the imaginary. Unlike much of Atkins’ previous work, “Old Food” is slow – hobbled and exhausted by its own apparent superficiality. Still, “Old Food” moves, caught in a concert of sad, pitched inwards and out.

These new computer-generated video works are installed alongside a vast display of the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s costume archive, presented as objet trouvé in the manner in which they are stored. Part perverse mise-en-scène, part practical acoustic treatment, the costumes invite a reading of the videos as aspirationally operatic and as compromised historical dream – both in their failure to sufficiently address their contemporary moment, and their presumed locale, from 11th century Scotland to ancient Egypt to Berlin, and the world, today. Just as the costumes are displayed in a manner to subvert their role as instruments of immersive storytelling, Atkins’ videos constantly undo both their realism and their elaborate technology. The effect, ironically enough, is one of genuine imminence.

Ed Atkins was born in 1982 in Oxford, UK. He studied at London’s Central Saint Martins (BA) and Slade School of Fine Art (MA). His works have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions at venues such as MMK Frankfurt (2017), DHC/ART, Montréal (2017), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2016), The Kitchen, New York (2016), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015) and The Serpentine Gallery, London (2014). Atkins is a writer as well as a visual artist, with an anthology of his texts, “A Primer for Cadavers”, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2016. An extensive artist’s monograph was recently published by Skira in cooperation with Castello di Rivoli. In 2015, Ed Atkins became a guest of the DAAD’s Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme and he has been living and working in Berlin ever since.

Today's News

September 29, 2017

Arab World Institute exhibits rare works from Christian communities of the Arab world

Dutch school kids must visit Rembrandt, parliament: Report

Masterworks from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection to be offered at Sotheby's New York

Leonardo da Vinci may have drawn 'Nude Mona Lisa', experts say

Ukraine and Russia fight over Crimean heritage

Artist to face trial for 'flashing' at Louvre

Proust paid for good reviews of his masterpiece

Sotheby's inaugural Sale of Postwar and Contemporary Photographs totals $2.5 million

Hyde displays van Gogh work

Serpentine Gallery opens exhibition of works by Wade Guyton

New exhibition explores Georgian attitudes to love, desire and female respectability

Exhibition of landscapes, both real and imagined, on view at Gagosian Hong Kong

The Cleveland Museum of Art announces new acquisitions

Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford named Director of National Museum of African Art

ArtCircle exhibits work by ten artists associated with minimalism and post-minimalism

Iswanto Hartono connects the history of the Oude Kerk with Indonesia's colonial past

QUAD, Derby presents two film works by Hetain Patel

Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Contemporary and MIACA present 'Invisible Cities'

The Frick Pittsburgh launches new mobile landscape app

Berlin State Museums opens "Exchanging Gazes: Between China and Europe 1669-1907"

Artist Richard Erdman donates three sculptures to University of Vermont

Freeman's announces highlights from its Silver, Objets de Vertu & Russian Works of Art Sale

New wide-ranging acquisitions join prestigious PAFA Collection of American Art

Toby Ziegler opens exhibition at the Freud Museum

Ed Atkins creates a new series of works for exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful