Remote Control

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Simon Denny, Those who don't change will be switched off, (2012)

A TV set burns fiercely. These are the last days of the British analog television broadcast.

I kid you not, the United Kingdom limps sorely behind on digital conversion. Luxembourg was first to the finish line, followed by most of Europe, the States, North Africa, Japan. The UK, a chain-smoking marathon runner, who might or might not have gout, has decided — to hell with the lot of you — to race dressed as Chewbacca.

As we drag ourselves sodden and bronchial through those final steps, a slow clap from the ICA gallery greets us. The exhibition 'Remote Control' (April 3, 2012 - 10 June 10, 2012) marks the end of the analog signal by uniting works that take TV and break it apart.

Artist David Hall set television ablaze in 1971. His TV Interruptions were broadcast during normal BBC scheduling in Scotland. No announcement, nor explanation. A tap in the top right-hand corner filled the screen up with water as if it were a cross-section of a sink, a man filmed out at the audience from inside the set, a television burned to cinders in an open field. Each short film held its own during broadcast with a cool irony. Yet the creation and destruction of illusions simultaneously undermined the tyranny of any box masquerading as a window into reality. Hall pioneered art in television and continues to work with the medium and concept. With it, and in opposition to it, for the artists in 'Remote Control' hold their enemy close.

            Still from David Hall, TV Interruptions (Tap piece) (1971)

Commercial broadcasting is the adversary in Television Delivers People (1973) by Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman. A six and a half minute credit roll tells us merrily that we are the end product of TV, delivered through broadcast to be consumed by advertisers. The medium itself emerges banal, or shrill; the mechanisms of corporate control form the malevolent baseline. Screened in the ICA alongside these works by Hall and Serra as well as Gerry Schum, are further exposés on television advertising from TVTV, misogyny from Joan Braderman, and violence from Marcel Odenbach. Sixteen CRT televisions line up neatly to show us how artists rankled with the system over the decades past. 

It doesn't sound very radical does it? The wit of the interruptions has already been dampened by their removal from the broadcast context. They confront an engaged, expectant audience, not their passive target. Can we understand quite how difficult it must have been to infiltrate the mainstay of the British broadcasting industry, the BBC, when there is such a multitude of platforms available today? Should an institution that holds the contemporary at its core not be addressing the hidden power lines of the mass media that immerse us now?

 

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Tauba Auerbach at Bergen Kunsthall

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Tauba Auerbach has long worked with different types of book production. Recently these have developed into independent sculptural works that continue Auerbach’s research on multidimensionality and the importance of colour for spatiality. She presents several new book sculptures in this exhibition, and in a way these function as manuals for thinking about the project by constantly revolving around the question “How can we imagine what is impossible to sense?”

Although Auerbach draws much of her inspiration from mathematics and physics, her visual investigations deal equally with the basic themes of art history. Her paintings raise fundamental issues in new ways, among them the depiction of three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface, and the relationship between abstraction and representation.

Tauba Auerbach at Bergen Kunsthall via Contemporary Art Daily

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Tauba Auerbach's New Large-scale Pop-up Book

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Tauba Auerbach has recently teamed up with Printed Matter, Inc. in New York to create an oversized, colorful, and intricate pop-up book titled [2,3].

For [2,3], Auerbach has created an oversized pop-up book featuring six die-cut paper sculptures that unfold into wonderful, elaborate forms. While much of Auerbach’s work has previously dealt with compositions staged in the flux state between 2D and 3D,[2,3] represents an expansion for the artist towards a more sculptural medium. Engineered by the artist, each “page” opens into a beautifully constructed object, intricately conceived so that the large-scale paper works—some up to 18” tall—can be collapsed totally flat.

The six sculptures in [2,3] take their cue from a range of geometric forms—the pyramid, sphere, ziggurat, octagonal bipyramid (gem), arc, and möbius-strip. The use of a bright, contrasting palette is familiar from Auerbach’s previous work across a range of materials, including acrylics, etchings and C-type prints. This groundbreaking project stands as an astonishing art-object, part bookwork and part sculpture, and represents an advance in the field of pop-up technology.

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