JON FAWCETT Engineered Object-Based Work Tanks At Tate Modern

The inventory of materials used in Jon Fawcett’s work reads like a crossword puzzle made from the remixed narratives of JG Ballard and Philip K Dick… Forming an obtuse patchwork of evidence and agenda, his work quietly explodes reductive, institutional definitions of what is real and what is possible. –  Mark Waugh, curator

Developed from research into conspiracy theories, new age ideas and new science, Jon Fawcett’s object-based work is highly engineered, manipulating military or high-end materials and technologies.  In Radiance (2011) a group of women across London were hypnotised by walkie talkie and became a network of energy generators, their activities documented by telephoto video. For Fawcett’s first major solo show, at the A Foundation (2010), he designed Blessor, a working quadracopter drone that deployed a cloud of tangerine-flavoured icing sugar, and stationed a real mercenary armed with a replica machine gun as a guard outside the gallery.

2012 sees Fawcett produce two new large-scale works for The Tanks at Tate Modern in their new spaces dedicated to performance and installation based work. Whum and EIR take the viewer on a journey through energy fields with uncertain properties, unsettling conversations with psychics and a feeling of involvement in something far greater…

Whum is a slowly rotating, 7-metre wide, highly engineered wheel. On its rim are 9 cylindrical vessels containing undisclosed materials, with a further 10 pods situated around the wheel.  As it turns, Whum creates a twisting, folding force or “torsion” between itself and the vessels, affecting anyone in proximity to it. Whum was developed from research into the pseudo-science which evolved around Einstein’s unfinished Unified Field Theory and the Philadelphia Experiment conspiracy theory.

Fawcett has held solo shows at the A Foundation (Liverpool), the Elastic Gallery (London), the Space Station Sixty Five (London), and the Inner Spaces Centre for Contemporary Art (Poznan, Poland, 2000). Group shows include the ICA (London), the Chisenhale Gallery (London), Wysing Arts (Cambridge), the Bonnington Gallery (Nottingham), the Arts Gallery (London), Alma Enterprises (London), Divus (London), h29 (Brussels), the Central House of Artists (Moscow) and the Accademia di Belle Arti (Catania, Italy). Performances have been commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency (London), Hull Time Based Arts (Hull), Fierce! (Birmingham), the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), the Expo Festival (Nottingham), the Triskel Gallery (Cork, Ireland) and the Anti Festival (Finland). Fawcett has undertaken residencies in Finland, Germany, Poland and Wales. He completed a BA in Visual Performance at Dartington College of Arts in 2001, and an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art in 2007.

The Tanks at Tate Modern are the world’s first museum galleries permanently dedicated to exhibiting live art, performance, installation and film works. In Tank 2, a rolling series of projects addresses the history of performance, film and interdisciplinary work alongside newly commissioned ‘focus’ projects.  The Tanks at Tate Modern launch with a festival presenting new work in these areas and exploring the rich history from which this has evolved from 18 July – 28 October 2012. The launch is part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

EIR sits in an arc next to Whum: 6 booths, each manned by a psychic who takes members of the public through a questionnaire covering their background, political inclinations, beliefs, interests and skills.  The psychics are not there to provide insight, but to ‘screen’ participants on whether they suitable for recruitment to a secret organisation.

In 2013 Fawcett will continue to explore ideas around energy fields, quantum entanglement and remote activity. In an innovative collaboration across two sites in Berlin, he will work with General Public, an independent space that produces exhibitions, performances, discussions and screenings; and AC Galerie who as well as programming exhibitions, curate the science, art and humanities magazine Occulto and present occasional Occulto Fest art events.

16 – 17 August 2012 | Whum  |  EIR, The Tanks at Tate Modern

1– 31 March 2013 | General Public and AC Galerie, Berlin

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