Paranoia at its Peak. Underworld presents the work of 6 young international artists whose confronting works deal directly with political protest, passion, sex, mortality, waste and paranoia - the domain of the marginalized underworld which evasively contends for the centre of a cultural consciousness where there seems to be no heart.
Paranoia at its Peak
Underworld presents the work of 6 young international artists whose confronting works deal directly with political protest, passion, sex, mortality, waste and paranoia - the domain of the marginalized underworld which evasively contends for the centre of a cultural consciousness where there seems to be no heart.
In seemingly disconnected narratives counter realities are suggested for existing ones. Like the shifting sands of the desert, cultural reality renews itself and returns to the values of the human condition, which are intrinsically linked to our hopes and fears where nostalgia, faith, eroticism and territorial instinct are rooted. The application of these limits, their definition and thereby meaning to the world's chaos is a theme throughout Underworld. In effect no-one can maintain dominance over the individual for long. A constellation of social and historical artefacts and events create a hinterland which is both breeding ground and wasteland of the modern world; a contained chaos, a tumultuous constant.
In their respective wastelands, these artists clash between domination and desire, isolation and participation: being separate and alone and yet intimately connected and in search of a counter consciousness with the introduction of order to chaos and visa versa. This contradiction symbolises the territorialization of an amorphous force. Underworld induces the paradoxes involved in humanities appropriation and incorporation of the world around us. An illustration of the ironic counterbalances involved in maintaining equilibrium.
Artists and selected works
Govinda Mens (The Netherlands)
Breathing Wall and View (2000)
Subtle contractions appear in one of the walls installed on the second floor of the exhibition space. As the viewer approaches they experience the in and out swelling as the wall breathes, slowly and rhythmically. In the lower gallery space a long corridor leads to a window at its end. A scene from the world outside is projected, the sky and walls of adjacent buildings. Suddenly our tranquillity is broken as a bird crashes against the window.
Costa Vece (Switzerland)
Behind this wall is Paradise: Desert (2001)
Upon entering the gallery one encounters a large construction of cardboard boxes and packing material. The audience is enticed to enter the interior of Vece's cocoon structure. Amorphous forms made from waste material lie on the floor, providing comfortable places for the audience to sit. Vece critiques the consumer world and how we designate value. He utilises what others consider waste and gives it worth again. Screens are built into the walls showing videos sampled from advertising, films and computer games. This is a place of refuge, den or zone of safety, a place far away from the anxieties of the world.
Alicia Framis (Spain)
The video work Together/Apart focuses on a women shot in darkness, the only light emanating from a strobe lamp somewhere in this dark space. After adjusting to the conditions we see the protagonist masturbating. She is at the same time being watched through the camera by her male counterpart, whose low breathing indicates his own pleasure.
Max Natkiel (The Netherlands)
In the 1980's this photographer began taking pictures of the young punks in the Paradiso nightclub in Amsterdam, over a period of a few years he has archived more than 6000 images which were published in his book of the same title. In this installation of Paradiso Stills, Natkiel will present hundreds of these images on 6 slide projectors, set against a soundtrack of that time. This is a fantastic document of youth culture at its most abject and the pains of coming of age. These black and white images -mostly photos of young boys - resonate on many levels - sometimes threatening and disturbing and at other times tender and child-like.
Ilya Rabinovich (Israel/Russia)
A nomadic photographer, perpetually on the move. He documents the city or place that finds him. His work ranges from a series of photos taken in mental hospitals, where he captures the beautiful colours and light which are in stark contrast to the emptiness and sadness of the story they tell. The absence and dereliction of human presence in areas which have been ascribed to man is a constant theme in this artists work. Empty parking lots, dry swimming pools, waiting rooms longing for the warmth of a person, these are the constructs of Rabinovich's underworld.
David Haines (UK)
The title Jackmask is taken from the pseudonym of the main protagonist in David Haines video installation. This disturbingly charged work delves into the world of internet chat rooms. The artist and 'Jackmask' enter a game of seduction on-line. The spectator observes Haines responding to the other mans questions. As the tempo escalates, one slowly becomes an accomplice in a scenario created for the complicit excitement of the two men. Both role players are faceless to each other and exist as fictional characters in their own minds. They must remain anonymous to one another in order that the game runs its full course. Arousal begins when there is a promise of this other, the enjoyment of that promise and a transgression of the desire. The artist has found a hunting ground where the borders of seduction and flirtation are transgressed. Haines unapologetically subjects and draws his viewer close to his own desires which may in turn become our very own fears.
Wheelchair Access via Apsley St
Ormeau Baths Gallery,
18a Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HS,
TEL: (+ 44) 28 90321402 ; Fax: (+44) 28 90312232