A menacing and dystopian environment is produced at Modern Art Oxford in the exhibition ‘Freedom’, the first solo exhibition in the UK by American artist Josh Kline (b. 1979). This exhibition includes an installation from which the exhibition takes its title. 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.
For ‘Hope and Change’, Kline presents US President Barack Obama, played by an actor augmented with facial substitution software, who delivers a confrontational new version of his inaugural speech, addressing issues ranging from global warming to race relations. In this darkly compelling new exhibition, Kline creates a radical critique of the political and economic landscape of a globalised world.
The Gallery also presents the first solo exhibition in the UK of acclaimed Austrian artist Kiki Kogelnik (1935-1997). Working in New York in the 1960s, Kogelnik was a well-known artist and contemporary of figures such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Despite her early popularity, Kogelnik’s work was often overlooked by institutions and slowly written out of the history of post-war Western art.
‘Fly Me To The Moon’ surveys the diverse practice of this remarkable artist, focusing in particular on the works produced by Kogelnik during her time in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition includes a number of paintings, sculptures and drawings which reflect the tumult of the Cold War era, when the Space Race was at its height and fears of nuclear annihilation were growing.
Throughout her career, Kogelnik employed an exuberant palette, which belied its often apocalyptic subjects; from macabre skulls and severed limbs to disembowelled figures. These deathly bodies, rendered disposable in an increasingly mechanised world, sound a note of caution in an era continually transformed by new technologies.
Kiki Kogelnik: Fly Me to the Moon – Modern Art Oxford – 22 August to 18 October 2015
Josh Kline: Freedom – Modern Art Oxford – 22 August to 18 October 2015