Krishna Balakrishnan Shanthi is a designer, artist, curator and critical & theoretical lecturer based in London UK. (more...)
THE BLUE, THE PINK, THE IMMATERIAL, THE VOID
19 May–22 July 2022
Austrian Cultural Forum London, London
Artists: Arang Choi | Pyo E | Aitor Gonzalez | Natalia Gurova & Nora Aaron Scherer | Kubakub | Laila Majid | Jérôme David Meinlschmidt | Tamu Nkiwane | Rebecca Parkin | JJ Ramsauer | Alfred Rottensteiner | Esther Vörösmarty | Grace Woodcock
Curators: Rosa Abbott and Krishna Balakrishnan
Using a framework of the Technological Sublime to reflect upon the experienced present, THE BLUE, THE PINK, THE IMMATERIAL, THE VOID presents the work of 14 early-career artists based in London and Vienna. Spanning performance, painting, sculpture, drawing, sound and digital media, the exhibition explores how varying forms of sublime can manifest through artworks as technological phenomena and experience.
‘Technological sublime’ has been theorised since the early 20th Century when artists began turning their attention to the industrial machinery of the Modernist age. As Fredric Jameson has pointed out, however, ‘the technology of our own moment no longer possesses the same capacity for representation’. Our contemporary technological sublime is:
not the turbine, nor even Sheeler’s grain elevators or smokestacks, not the baroque elaboration of pipes and conveyor belts, nor even the streamlined profile of the railroad train … but rather the computer, whose outer shell has no emblematic or visual power … [and] television which articulates nothing but rather implodes, carrying its flattened image surface within itself.
As we enter an increasingly dematerialised way of living, the technological sublime comes to us in the form of seemingly limitless networks, an excess of images and information, and a sense of terror as we encounter geopolitical turmoil via digital news media. In the age of Kant, the sublime was a storm out at sea that threatened to envelop us. In 2022, it manifests as ominous clusters of pixels blinking on our screens, signalling war or wildfire.
In his 1961 text ‘Truth Becomes Reality’, Yves Klein – whose inscription at the convent of Santa Rita de Cascia lends the exhibition its title – wrote that “It is not with rockets, Sputniks and missiles that modern man will achieve the conquest of space… It is by the means of the powerful yet pacific force of his sensitivity.” THE BLUE, THE PINK, THE IMMATERIAL, THE VOID reflects on the fear-inducing awe we experience in the face of limitless information and technology; the disorientating effects of urban architecture and our yearning for a return to spirituality and/or sensuality in the technological age. Many of the artworks puncture the banality that emerges as a byproduct of the technological sublime by highlighting wonder, weirdness, joy, intimacy or disgust; reminding us of the heterogeneity of the world, the richness of experience, and how art can be a microcosm of this – telling stories, offering an escape from reality, opening new possibilities and allowing us to ‘travel’ through looking, rather than moving.
THE BLUE, THE PINK, THE IMMATERIAL, THE VOID will be accompanied by a publication featuring texts by Dr Betti Marenko (Central Saint Martins / Hybrid Futures Lab) and Dr Georgina Voss (London College of Communication), and a conversation between the curators and Axel Stockberger (artist and lecturer at Akademie der Bildenden Künste) alongside documentation of the artworks. An online platform will also connect the exhibition to a broader international audience, further opening up the artistic processes of the participating artists.