For the exhibition A K Dolven presents a variety of media painting, installation, film and sound. Nastio Mosquito presents film and music, theatrical performance, video and installation.
A K Dolven: please return
Ikon presents a new exhibition of work by A K Dolven, one of Norway’s most prominent artists. Through a variety of media – painting, installation, film and sound – she is concerned essentially with the representation of sublime natural forces. In this respect she identifies with the renowned nineteenth century Norwegian painter Peder Balke (1804–1887), whose work is also included in the exhibition.
In his landscapes of northern Norway, Balke’s human subjects are dwarfed by their circumstances, as small figures in the landscape, or their presence is implied by modest dwelling places or boats at the mercy of the sea. Whilst sharing Balke’s world view, Dolven’s vision is more overtly philosophical, dealing with the nature of perception and the subconscious functioning of memory and feeling. It is significant that she focuses on densely multisensory situations, in which her main subject is at once very present and resonant with lost time.
In selfportrait, Berlin februar 1989 Lofoten august 2009 (2010), an 8mm film on video, we see the artist in a telling dialogue with herself across time. The earlier footage was shot in West Berlin, overlooking the river Spree which, in early 1989, was part of East Berlin. Standing cold and naked, as she turns the camera around her waistline until the roll of film is used up, all the time she is being watched by East German border police. The later footage, filmed twenty years on, features Dolven making the same gesture with a camera on a mountain top in northern Norway, in the white light of an arctic summer night, overlooking the sea. This self-portrait is ostensibly an artwork about the world beyond whilst being centred on the artist, and her place in time.
A new series of paintings by Dolven alludes to Balke through their medium – the layered application of colour on aluminium panels, small scale and minimalist. But rather than representing bleak landscape, the mix of gesso, cadmium orange and white oil paint results in a human skin tone. The panels bear the wounds of hammer blows, struck hard by the artist into the surfaces that she has carefully prepared. These are the emphatic traces of an artistic act that refers at once both to the marks we make and the marks made on us through a life time
Nastio Mosquito: Daily Lovemaking
This is the first solo exhibition of work by Nástio Mosquito, emerging to be one of the most exciting artists of his generation.
Rooted in the broadcast industry, where Mosquito worked previously as director and cameraman, his artistic practice is extraordinary for its energy, intelligence and wit. It is as funny as it is confrontational, as candid as it is ironic, satirical and cool. It embraces film and music, theatrical performance, video and installation, often requiring the collaboration of others, most notably Spanish artist Vic Pereiró. Frequently appearing in concerts and music festivals, Mosquito has also performed within the context of visual arts programmes and maintains a lively online presence.
Theatrically, Mosquito takes centre stage in his work. He often assumes roles, through mimicry, in order to express ideas occurring to him, not so much as his own cherished beliefs but rather observations on human folly manifested in modern life. The distance between his actual identity and such characterisations enables him to express himself variously as being trangressive, cool, cynical, profane and vulgar. “Nástia”, a know-it-all with a Russian accent – a monster engendered by the Cold War – epitomises this tendency, and often makes an appearance. At the heart of the exhibition is Nástia’s Manifesto (2008), a circular projection suspended just above the floor, based on the keywords “Hypocritical, Ironic and Do Not Give a Fuck”.
In a variety of ways Mosquito is an artist pointing us towards a future in which clear distinctions are made between art forms, between popular culture and fine art, and the categorisation of cultural identities will have become either redundant or irrelevant. His self-awareness as someone in the art world sits alongside his concerns with African politics, especially those pertaining to Angola – as it deals with the legacy of a long and bloody civil war – sexual politics, rampant consumerism and other symptoms of globalisation.
The device of proclamation, of preaching or pedagogy, is deployed with ironic knowingness. In 3 Continents (2010) we encounter the kind of confidence that characterises the nouveau riche stumbling into situations they don’t really understand. Acts (2012), a more recent work by Nastivicious (Mosquito and Pereiró), is less narrative. In four parts, we see him in silhouette against backgrounds of vivid colours, performing covers of songs such as I Shot the Sheriff and Purple Rain, interspersed by exhortations in Portuguese. These are combined with electronic drones and digital effects to conjure up a vision that is as weirdly ominous as it is abstract.
Please note elements of this exhibition contain adult content and parental guidance is advised. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, priced £10, with text by independent curator, writer and artist Gaby Ngcobo. Visit Ikon’s online shop for the full range of Ikon’s catalogues and limited editions. Ikon, in collaboration with Nuova Icona, presents a project combining Nástio Mosquito’s films and performances at the 56th Biennale di Venezia (May – August 2015) at the Oratorio di San Ludovico, S. Basilico.
Image: Nástio Mosquito, 3 Continents (2010) Video, 7:45’. Copyright Nástio Mosquito
Opening: 4 February 2015
1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace