MIRRORCITY is a group show at the Hayward Gallery in London, curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, Chief Curator. It explores the effect the digital revolution has had on our experiences, bringing together recent work and new commissions by key emerging and established artists working in the capital today, who seek to address the challenges, conditions and consequences of living in a digital age.
Tim Etchell’s part of the exhibition brings together new and existing pieces which explore language in relation to the space of the city. The first of these is City Changes (2008) comprising 20 framed A4 pages, concerning itself with both the social and political possibilities of urban space and the performative / linguistic act of describing or imagining it. Each of the texts (one per A4 page) is a description of a fictional city that’s constantly changing and each text is made by rewriting and reversing or countering the previous text in the sequence. Since changes introduced in the rewriting process are flagged by colour coding new words appearing on each new page, the work charts the ebbs, flows and decisions of its own editing, as well as portraying of a series of 20 contradictory, possible and impossible urban spaces.
The second work Etchells is presenting is a new series of 28 A0 posters drawn from the internet project (2011) and later publication (2012) Vacuum Days. The posters announce imaginary performances, spectacles, debates, contests and other events, written in direct response to social change, current affairs and politics. The events described are often exaggerated and troubling, occupying a comical but problematic intersection between politics and spectacle.
Finally he is showing a new neon work on one of the footbridges outside Hayward, in white neon 40cm letters which spell the phase A MESSAGE TO YOURSELF FROM THE PAST, WHEN YOU BELIEVED IN DIFFERENT THINGS.
JG Ballard believed that reality had already exceeded the visions conjured by science fiction by the end of the 20th century. Drawing on the digital era we now live in, the artists in MIRRORCITY respond to and address this new perception of the world.
Artists have always created alternative realities but recently they have been exploring where the digital and the physical space crossover and fold into each other.
The engagement, innovation and complexity of the works selected for MIRRORCITY also directly or indirectly reflect the multi-faceted character of London itself.
Presenting artworks in a wide variety of media including painting, film and video, sculpture, drawing, sound and performance, artists in the exhibition are:
Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq, Anne Hardy, Ursula Mayer, Katrina Palmer, Laure Prouvost, Hannah Sawtell, Lindsay Seers, John Stezaker and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Emma McNally, Helen Marten, Daniel Sinsel, Susan Hiller and Michael Dean, LuckyPDF, Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, Tim Etchells, Lloyd Corporation, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Aura Satz, Tai Shani and Volumes Project.