16 May 2011

Chimney for the exhibition

Côme Ciment

In the Belly of the Whale, Cartel, London
28 May - 16 July 2011

Chimney for the exhibition    copper pipes, smoke machine, metallic paint (external view)

Chimney for the exhibition    copper pipes, smoke machine, metallic paint (internal view)

Floors of the exhibition    three overlaid elevation drawings in white magnetic tape covering the walls

–Press release–

Moby Dick inspired a lifelong obsession in Orson Welles.  So much so, that he directed and appeared in at least three different adaptations of the novel: once on stage and twice in film.

Welles's interpretations of Moby Dick included a 1955 play about a theatre company's rehearsal of the Melville story, which featured newcomers Patrick McGoohan, Joan Plowright and Kenneth Williams, and starred the director himself as Captain Ahab.  It is said that Welles considered the theatre hall to be the belly of the whale, in which the actors are unwittingly trapped - much as, in the novel, the crew are caught on the ship.  Soon after the theatre production finished its run, Welles shot, in two London theatres, a film that included additional cast members such as Christopher Lee.  It has since been presumed lost.  16 years later, Welles made another attempt at his own film version, in which he played all the major parts.  Some of this footage was edited into a movie posthumously but, at the time of writing, the film is unavailable for public viewing due to legal issues.

'In the Belly of the Whale' is a response to Welles's unremitting and ultimately unfinished project.  It considers the theme of rehearsal and its related notions of incompleteness, version and repetition.  The exhibition features new works by Adam Chodzko, Côme Ciment and Jacopo Miliani, a recent piece by Anthea Hamilton and contextual material.

Adam Chodzko has made a film for a damaged projector, set in a theatre, and objects for actors to use in rehearsal.  Côme Ciment has articulated elements from Moby Dick and the exhibition's premise with different gestures that appear throughout the exhibition space.

Anthea Hamilton's airy room divider Untitled (Rope Divider) (2009/2011) is made predominantly of knotted rope - the technique for which was inspired by John Huston's film Moby Dick.  A large metal ring acts as a portal between the real space of the exhibition and a possible space of fiction.

Working with found images of a theatrical origin, Jacopo Miliani imagines a casting for some of the secondary characters in Moby Dick

'In the Belly of the Whale' includes a programme of associated events, to be announced.

The exhibition is curated by Rosie Cooper and Ariella Yedgar, and is itself a rehearsal for a larger show that they are developing in parallel.

About the Artists:

Adam Chodzko
Chodzko works in a variety of media that have included performance, film, drawing and sculpture.  His work is conceptual, and often lyrical and fantastical.  Working directly with the people and places that surround him, Chodzko's art focuses on culture's edges, endings, displacements and disappearances.  He has exhibited extensively, most recently at venues and exhibitions including: Tate St Ives, Cornwall; Museum d'Arte Moderna, Bologna; Athens Foundation, Athens; PS1, New York; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland.  In 2002 he received awards from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, London, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art, New York.

Côme Ciment 
Côme Ciment is one of the many identities of artist Olivier Castel, who makes work under a variety of different names, often collaged from those of other artists.  Similarly, his art takes on - and re-imagines - a range of broad cultural references, including literature and art, with a characterisitic lightness of touch and humorous approach.  Previous exhibitions include 'Variety;, London (2011), and 'Ribbons: The Shape of an Exhibition', Auto Italia, London (2010), both solo shows; an intervention entitled 'The Fox is Concentrating, Trying to Make the Exhibition Disappear', for the Zabludowicz Collection, London (2011); 'Tableau Vivant: A Wandering Retrospective', Prospect New Orleans, (2010); and 'How Large the World is in the Light of the Lamps', Curzon Soho Cinema, London (2008), in collaboration with Kazimierz Jankowski.

Anthea Hamilton
The physicality of bodies and objects are a source of pleasure for Anthea Hamilton.  She combines disparate elements (music, films, images from men's magazines, rope, the silhouette of a woman's leg, a melon, a rubber mask of Bart Simpson, etc.) to uncanny effect in her work, which takes different forms, including installations, mobiles, films and paintings.  Recent solo exhibitions include: 'Anthea Hamilton', IBID Projects, London (2009); 'Spaghetti Hoops', La Salle de bains, Lyon (2009); and Kusntverein Freiburg, Germany (2009).  Recent group exhibitions include: 'Savage Messiah', Rob Tufnell at Sutton Lane, London (2011); 'Newspeak: British Art Now', Saatchi Gallery, London (2010), 'Wunderkammer', me Collectors Room, Berlin (2010); and 'Small Collections', Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2009).

Jacopo Miliani
Through his interdisciplinary practice (installations, videos, collages, performances), Jacopo Miliani challenges the role of representation as a mimesis of reality and its placement in contemporary society.  Using the subjectivity of the viewer in relation to mass culture, Jacopo reflects upon image and audience, often using his personal archive of quotations and found images in ambiguous ways to create a work that can only be 'completed' in the audience's mind.  Recent exhibitions include 'Italian Wave', Artissima, Turin (2010); a screening in relation to the Derek Jarman retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2008).  In 2009, he was granted the Platform Garanti International Residence Programme in Istanbul.  He has also shown work at Villa Romana, Florence; FormContent, London; and has recently contributed to the International Performance Festival at Galeria Vermelho in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

About Cartel:
Cartel is an independent not-for-profit platform for curators in South East London.  Launched in the summer of 2010, it showcases about six projects a year.  Housed in a black shipping container, Cartel's programme is decided by a flexible consortium of international members.