The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things


Cyberman with Gargoyle
Cyberman Helmet, 1985, Courtesy Chris Balcombe, Photo: Chris Balcombe
Singing Gargoyle, England, c. 1200, Courtesy of Sam Fogg, London

Curated by Mark Leckey

Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey has curated an exhibition that explores the magical world of new technology, as well as tracing its connections to the beliefs of our distant past.

Historical and contemporary works of art, videos, machines, archaeological artefacts and iconic objects, like the giant inflatable cartoon figure of Felix the Cat – the first image ever transmitted on TV – inhabit an “enchanted landscape” created in the Pavilion’s galleries, where objects seem to be communicating with each other and with us.

In Leckey’s exhibition “magic is literally in the air.” It reflects on a world where technology can bring inanimate “things” to life. Where websites predict what we want, we can ask our mobile phones for directions and smart fridges suggest recipes, count calories and even switch on the oven. By digitising objects, it can also make them “disappear” from the material world, re-emerging in any place or era.

In this timeless exhibition, “the real and the virtual co-exist”, Leckey has said. Perhaps technology has created its own form of consciousness – an animistic future. While we already live in the realms of what used to be science fiction, we seem to have simultaneously gone back to our ancestral past – a time when ancient civilisations believed spirits inhabited plants, animals, geographic features and even objects.

Leckey’s theatre of “things” is presented in specially designed environments. Works by artists such as William Blake, Louise Bourgeois, Martin Creed, Richard Hamilton, Nicola Hicks, Jim Shaw and Tøyen are displayed alongside a medieval silver hand containing the bones of a saint, an electronic prosthetic hand that connects with Bluetooth, a bisected 3D model of Snoopy showing his internal organs, and many other treasures that all share connections. Loosely divided into four themes or scenes – the Vegetable World, Animal Kingdom, Mankind and the Technological Domain, Leckey’s exhibition is a collection of not-so-dumb things that all talk, literally or metaphorically, to each other.

Mark Leckey was born in Birkenhead in 1964. He currently teaches at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2008 he won the Turner Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include Work & Leisure at Manchester Art Gallery (2012), and See We Assemble at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2011). The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things is the latest in a series of artist-curated Hayward Touring exhibitions.

‘The status of objects’, Leckey argues, ‘is changing, and we are once again in thrall to an enchanted world full of transformations and correspondences, a wonderful instability between things animate and inanimate, animal and human, mental and material’. Our hyper-rationalism of modern technology has paradoxically produced its opposite, an ‘irrational’ magical realm – or as Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist, described “a resonating world akin to the old tribal echo chamber where magic will live again”.

A Hayward Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre, London


Woofer Design by Sander Mulder
© Sander Mulder

De La Warr Pavilion
Bexhill On Sea
East Sussex
TN40 1DP
Box Office and information:
01424 229 111 or

Sat 13 Jul 2013-
Sun 20 Oct 2013
Tickets: Free entry

Booking & Information:
01424 229 111



Making It Up: Photographic Fictions


Untitled – May 1997, Hannah Starkey, 1997, Museum no. E.491-1998. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Hannah Starkey

3 May 2013 – 12 January 2014
Room 38A
Free admission

Photography is widely associated with truthfulness yet it has also been employed throughout its history as a means of telling stories and evoking the imaginary. This display includes photographs by some of the most influential contemporary artists working in this vein, such as Gregory Crewdson, Duane Michals and Cindy Sherman, alongside examples by 19th-century practitioners including Julia Margaret Cameron, Clementina Lady Hawarden and Oscar Gustav Rejlander.

About displays
Complementing our permanent collections, there are many free temporary displays around the V&A. They range in size from a single case to a room.


Review by Susan Steward in the Evening Standard:

The photographs selected for this exhibition are drawn from the vast V&A archives, images from the 1850s to 1870s to today’s contemporaries. Some are paired across time, others stand alone, but all are engaged in detailed conversations and stories plotted for costumed actors by the photographers. Cindy Sherman greets the exhibition, an appropriate exemplar of many alter egos and photographic fictions, here presented as a Fifties or Sixties Hollywood actress.

The earliest works inevitably include the young 19th-century daughters of Julia Margaret Cameron and children of friends of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), all carefully choreographed into familiar poses, but the lesser-known Clementina Hawarden’s girls pose like young lovers, one cross-dressed and with more edge. They complement Hannah Starkey’s colourful cinematic scene of two 21st-century students sprawled on a party sofa. A lone, anonymous and calmly poignant 1850s scene is set outside a chapel where a mournful Bride of Christ in her wedding dress is seated alongside a young nun, a story loaded with emotion but with its religious detail unexplained.

As we see, theatrical narrative serves different purposes beyond pleasure. Many 19th-century painters used it as models for their work, as with SR Percy’s staged gypsy girls in a country scene. For the Chinese photographer Wang Quigsong, Night Revels of Lao Li imitates traditional scroll paintings working the vignette sequences like a story-board.

The museum’s two recent acquisitions fit into these fictions, with William Henry Price’s portrait of Don Quixote and the contemporary German, Jan Wenzel building complex stories through photo-booth snaps.

The silent dialogues behind the frames are an irresistible lure to viewers following the made-up tales.

Until Jan 12 (020 7907 7073,



Exhibition running 11 April – 4 May 2013

Opening Reception Wednesday 10th April 6 – 9pm
The Vinyl Factory Chelsea
91 Walton Street
London SW3 2HP
The Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10 – 6pm
+44 (0) 207 589 0588


The Mott Collection and The Vinyl Factory announce a new exhibition and publication:

Running 11 April – 4 May 2013

The exhibition brings together 50 American Hardcore single sleeves spanning the apex of the genre from the late 70’s up to the 90’s. The collection represents the subtle shifts and changes, and finally the overall unification of what began as a disparate musical style that developed into a rigid set of fixed codes, sounds, and political beliefs.

From the raw stripped down sounds of Black Flag to the spasmodic reggae influenced Bad Brains, Hardcore emerged as a puritanical suburban rely to the decadence of big city Punk Rock outfits such as the Ramones or the New York Dolls. Popping up in small West Coast communities like Hermosa Beach, Oxnard and San Pedro and simultaneously in East Coast cities such as Washington DC and Boston the Hardcore movement was obsessively local, yet at the same time extremely far reaching due to the punishing tour schedules bands would put themselves through sometimes touring non-stop for years. This had the effect of birthing small Hardcore scenes nationwide each with their own distinct flavours.

The exhibition also features a limited edition silk screen print featuring the ‘AMERICAN HARDCORE’ catalogue cover artwork.



The catalogue, printed in an edition of 300 copies, documents 50 US Hardcore Punk singles and features an extended Q&A with author and UK Punk collector Toby Mott and US Punk collector and curator Bryan Ray Turcotte. Also included are a 7” vinyl pressing of a Black Flag interview from 1981 and an oversized foldout print.The catalogue is printed and designed by Ditto Press.

Opening Reception Wednesday 10th April 6 – 9pm
Exhibition runs 11 April – 4 May 2013

The Vinyl Factory Chelsea
91 Walton Street
London SW3 2HP

The Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10 – 6pm
+44 (0) 207 589 0588


The Uncanny

Featuring works by Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde

Curated by James Putnam

Opening 16 January 2013

Ronchini Gallery London presents The Uncanny featuring new works by two young artists, Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde, curated by James Putnam from 16 January – 16 February 2013. The Uncanny draws on each artist’s relationship with their materials and the ways in which they create a sense of unease for the viewer by using the familiar out of context.

The exhibition’s theme is partly inspired by Sigmund Freud’s celebrated 1919 essay of the same title. Based on the notion that the strange could not exist without the non-strange, Freud’s study pioneered the distinctive nature of the uncanny as a feeling of something not simply weird or mysterious but, more specifically, as something strangely familiar. Freud’s concept of the uncanny and his interpretation of dreams had a significant influence on the Surrealist movement and their depiction of the unnatural and strange.

Dutch-Monegasque artist de Monseignat creates sculptures and installations from organic and tactile materials such as fur, a material suspended between life and death, often encased in glass. Her works have an uncertainty as to whether they are animate or inanimate objects. She refers to her creations as ‘creaptures’ as they are somewhere in between creatures and sculptures. Her kinetic works aim to create a sense of life through movement and mimic a slow breath. The creaptures thus hold a sense of presence and their tactile qualities elicit in the spectator an unfulfilled desire to touch them.

Dutch artist, Berndnaut Smilde produces striking images of ‘real’ Nimbus clouds suspended within empty rooms. Using a fog machine, he carefully adjusts the temperature and humidity to produce clouds just long enough to be photographed. There is a unique ephemeral aspect to the work where the photograph captures a very brief moment before the cloud dissipates and disappears again as mysteriously as it was formed. His choice of lighting and viewing aspect enables him to create a representation of the cloud’s physicality. Smilde’s work looks at transience and challenges the physicality of space.

 About the artists

Adeline de Monseignat (b. 1987, Monaco) lives and works in London. She was awarded the Catlin Art Prize, Visitor Vote Prize (2012) and was long listed for The Threadneedle Prize (2012). She studied at Slade School of Fine Art, Parsons The New School, New York and City & Guilds of London Art School.

Berndnaut Smilde (b. 1978, Groningen) lives and works in Amsterdam. Smilde’s work has been exhibited at Out of Focus, Saatchi Gallery, London (2012) and Red Sky at Night, Mercer Union, Toronto (2012). Smilde holds an MA from the Frank Mohr Institute, Groningen. Awards include a starter stipend from The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. He was a resident artist at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 2008.

 About the Curator

James Putnam is an independent curator and writer based in London. He founded and was curator of the British Museum’s Contemporary Arts and Cultures Programme from 1999 to 2003. He was also a former curator of the British Museum’s Department of Egyptian Antiquities. He has organized a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions for major museums juxtaposing the work of contemporary artists with their collections. Recently he was a curator for the 2010 Busan Biennale in South Korea, and the collateral events ”Distortion” and “Library” at the 53rd Venice Biennale. His book Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium, published by Thames & Hudson, surveys the interaction between contemporary artists and the museum. He was Visiting Scholar in Museum Studies at New York University and currently lectures in Curatorial Studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.

 About Ronchini Gallery

Ronchini Gallery is a contemporary art gallery founded by Lorenzo Ronchini in 1992, in Umbria, Italy, which expanded in February 2012 with a space in Mayfair, London. Its exhibitions have explored pioneering movements within Italy; the gallery aesthetic is defined by Minimalism, Spatialism, Conceptualism and Arte Povera and it retains an unblinking future-focus on progressive movements. Ronchini Gallery evolved from 20 years of private collecting. Paterfamilias Adriano Ronchini was an early supporter of artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Daniel Buren, Joseph Kosuth, Frank Stella and Michelangelo Pistoletto and collected their work throughout the seventies. Subscribing to the highest standards of curatorship and scholarship, the gallery provides a rigorous context in which its artists can be viewed. Ronchini Gallery also maintains a successful publishing arm which produces exhibition catalogues, monographs, critical texts and artist’s books.

Exhibition Facts: The Uncanny: Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde

Exhibition Dates: 16 January – 16 February 2013

Opening Reception: 15 January 2012

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm

Location: 22 Dering Street, London, W1S 1AN

Tel: +44 (0) 207 629 9188 Website:

For press information and images please contact:

Sophie da Gama Campos or Toby Kidd at Pelham Communications

Tel: +44 (0) 208 969 3959 Email: or




Admission £5/£3 Concs

12 October 2012 – 6 January 2013

©Kate Elliott

In the period following World War I, a curious attraction appeared at fairgrounds: the photographic shooting gallery. If the punter’s bullet hit the centre of the target, this triggered a camera. Instead of winning a balloon or toy, the participant would win a snapshot of him or herself in the act of shooting.

Shoot! Existential Photography traces the history of this fascinating side-show – from its popular use at fairgrounds to how it fascinated many artists and intellectuals in its heyday, including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Man Ray and Lee Miller. The artist Erik Kessels celebrates one shooter in particular – Ria van Dijk, who took portraits of herself in this way every year from 1936 – sixty of these images feature here.

Investigating numerous analogies between taking photographs and shooting, the exhibition includes works by many contemporary artists including Sylvia Ballhause, Agnès Geoffray, Jean-François Lecourt, Christian Marclay, Steven Pippin, Émilie Pitoiset, Niki de Saint Phalle, Rudolf Steiner and Patrick Zachmann.

To artist Rudolf Steiner the camera also serves as a target. In his series Pictures of me, shooting myself into a picture, the bullet hole serves as the aperture for a pinhole camera, creating an image upon impact. The video-sound installation Crossfire by Christian Marclay is a sampling from Hollywood films that edits together those moments in which the actors on the screen begin to take aim at the movie theatre audience. For eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds, the montage transports the viewer into a visual and acoustic crossfire from all sides.

At the end of the exhibition, visitors (18+ years) have the opportunity to take their own portraits in a photographic shooting gallery.

Exhibition curated by Clément Chéroux and co-produced by the Rencontres d’Arles and the Museum Für Photographie, Braunschweig


Viral Utopias

The Virality part of this free event (see below) will now be a collaboration between Tim Vogt, Francesco Tacchini, Nik Vaughn and Tony D. Sampson. We will be responding to the idea(l) of a viral utopia using academic voice, VJing, bass guitar and turntable.

Viral Utopia: What kind of Ontology is This?



Viral Utopias launch event on Friday November 16th

Viral Utopias Friday November 16th – 7PM til 1AM @ Limehouse Town Hall

Panics, plagues, and politics. Countless times the death of politics, utopia and neoliberalism has been proclaimed… and just as many times the lumbering remains of our conceptual apparatuses dust themselves and trundle on again… mutating their movements in unfolding recombinatory patterns.

Come join us to celebrate the release of several new publications exploring this overlap between the utopian and the viral, the networked and the not-worked: Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks by Tony Sampson; Contract & Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia by Angela Mitropoulos;

Open Utopia by Thomas More & Stephen Duncombe; and the current issue of Mute Magazine, ‘Becoming Impersonal’ Vol.3 #3.

DJS Agit Disco DJs LIVE BANDS Traum – London-based chanson for lovers of neo-romantisch perverse pop Hungry Hearts – whisky filled gruff folk punk:

ABOUT THE PUBLICATIONS Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks – Tony D Sampson with Tim Vogt, Francesco Tacchini and Nik Vaughn Contract & Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia – Angela Mitropoulos Open Utopia – Thomas More & Steve Duncombe Mute, ‘Becoming Impersonal’, Vol.3 #3

About Virality Tony D. Sampson is a London-based academic and writer currently lecturing at the University of East London. A former musician, he studied computer technology and cultural theory before receiving a PhD in sociology from the University of Essex. His ongoing interest in contagion theory is reflected in his recent publications, including The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn, and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture (2009), which he coedited with Jussi Parikka. His new book, Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks is published by the University of Minnesota Press in August 2012


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