Artlyst Photo Special: Josh Kline Creates Dystopian Teletubbies At Modern Art Oxford




Modern Art Oxford is currently presenting a menacing and dystopian environment created by artist Josh Kline in the exhibition ‘Freedom’, the first solo exhibition in the UK by the 35-year-old New York-based artist. This exhibition includes an installation from which the exhibition takes its title including some rather sinister characters.

Image: Josh Kline Freedom, 2015 installation view,detail, altered mannequin, plastic helmet, cotton, leather, nylon, cast resin, paint, steel, foam, and aluminum dimensions variable. Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

Four towering ‘Teletubbies’ dressed in SWAT gear guard a barren space modelled after Zuccotti Park, the privately owned public space in New York City and site of the Occupy Wall Street camp in 2011.

Image: Josh Kline Freedom, 2015 installation view,detail, LED screen, media player, non-edition HD video, altered mannequin, plastic helmet, cotton, leather, nylon, cast resin, paint, steel, foam, and aluminum dimensions variable. Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

The artist also presents us with a particular fantasy world that some of us might wish was real: In a video work, Tony Blair sits face to camera, in a grey prison jump suit and unburdens himself of some great crime that he has committed against the world, sobbing to camera.

Image: Josh Kline Freedom, 2015 installation view,detail, LED screen, media player, non-edition HD video, altered mannequin, plastic helmet, cotton, leather, nylon, cast resin, paint, steel, foam, and aluminum dimensions variable. Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

“Oh, my God! What have I done?” His face morphs between his familiar visage and that of the actor hidden beneath a moving digital mask, Kline’s film uses a technique called “real-time face substitution”. The actors who double for the politicians in question wear the projected features of the real people. “I’m so, so very sorry” exclaims our ex Prime Minister in repentant confessional mode.

Image: Still from Josh Kline, Crying Game 2015, George w. Bush. Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

The former prime minister joined, one after the other, by a agitated George W Bush exclaiming: “all those people… I’m so sorry… I’m a monster”, followed by a host of weeping politicians, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and, Dick Cheney, each extorting their own particular expressions of contrition.

Image: Still from Josh Kline, Crying Game 2015, Tony Blair. Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

Josh Kline: Freedom – Modern Art Oxford – until 18 October 2015


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