The Indivisible Present is the first exhibition in KALEIDOSCOPE, a year long programme of unfolding exhibitions at Modern Art Oxford in 2016. During the year, iconic works from the past return to the gallery alongside new commissions by acclaimed artists of the current generation.
In the opening exhibition, what we see and the things we miss are explored by artists who examine time from an unconventional perspective. They include Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, John Latham, Yoko Ono, Elizabeth Price, Dog Kennel Hill Project and Viola Yeşiltaç. The works on display, encompassing film, photography, sculpture and installation, invite visitors to examine each moment they encounter and to consider how time affects perception.
Opening on 6 February, The Indivisible Present runs until 20 March. In a new twist, the exhibition will begin to transition from one to the next from 22 March, when visitors will be able to see the processes of exhibition-making first hand. Through this unexpected device, Modern Art Oxford aims to offer audiences opportunities to develop their insight into the production of contemporary visual culture, by allowing them to see behind the scenes of the institution at work with artists and artworks.
One of the centre pieces of the inaugural exhibition is Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon’s celebrated film installation 24 Hour Psycho (1993). For this work, the artist slowed down the classic Hitchcock film Psycho to play over a 24-hour period, so that its frames flicker and shudder across the screen. This seminal work was included in Modern Art Oxford’s 1999’s Notorious: Hitchcock and Contemporary Art.
Pierre Huyghe’s monumental installation De-extinction (2014) is shown for the first time in a UK public gallery. In this film, the artist records a moment of reproduction, showing two insects encased in amber, over 30 million years old, as a reflection on the vastness of geological time and humanity’s comparatively short existence.
Yoko Ono’s Eyeblink (1966) was exhibited in Ono’s 1997 solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. Featuring a close-up of Ono’s eye opening and closing very slowly, this work plays with the possibilities of film and distortion, and raises issues of looking, objectification, and the gaze.
Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price’s film installation Sleep (2013) refers to the standby mode of digital devices rather than a restful state. Through the image of a never-setting sun and chorus of synchronised synthetic voices, the film conveys a sense of being constantly switched-on.
Viola Yeşiltaç has produced a series of new photographs from her ongoing series, I Really Must Congratulate You on Your Attention to Detail (2016). For this project the artist constructed a series of paper sculptures which were temporarily balanced and then photographed before collapsing, capturing an ephemeral moment and fixing it in time.
Two sculptures by John Latham are on view alongside Yeşiltaç’s photographs, which were exhibited in his Art after Physics retrospective at Modern Art Oxford in 1991. For over 50 years, Latham consistently employed books in his paintings, sculptures and performances. By incorporating burned and charred books, Latham declared his interest in destruction as an equal and opposite process to creation, and in art as an event rather than an object. The next exhibition in KALEIDOSCOPE is A Moment of Grace, running from 16 April until 22 May 2016.
In 2016, Modern Art Oxford celebrates 50 years as an internationally acclaimed powerhouse of contemporary visual culture. KALEIDOSCOPE is a year long series of interlinking shows, performances and events, reflecting on some of the great moments in Modern Art Oxford’s history.
KALEIDOSCOPE: Celebrating 50 inspirational years – Modern Art Oxford – The Indivisible Present 6 February to 20 March 2016.