Spike Island an international centre for the development of contemporary art, presents the largest solo exhibition to date by artist Haroon Mirza. The exhibition features new works made over the last twelve months. It is a place where artists and the public can meet, enabling audiences to engage with artists’ research and production. It also creates pathways for artists and other creative producers by nurturing a rich arts ecology that supports professional development beyond the confines of the organisation.
Mirza has established a distinct body of work that fuses sound and image into a complex sensory experience. The show presents a group of individual installations, each an assemblage of separate components that synthesise light, sound and movement. These are often orchestrated to form an aesthetic whole, building and looping across the gallery space to create an immersive experience that refutes galleries’ privileging of the visual.
The artist’s award-winning work for the 2011 Venice Biennale, The national apavilion of then and now, forms the entrance to the exhibition. The work consists of a halo of light set within an anechoic chamber, a room that prevents the reflection of either sound or electromagnetic waves, isolating those inside within a virtually soundless space. Also featured is I saw square triangle sine, a work that re- uses an idea developed in a work by Angus Fairhurst, Underdone / Overdone Paintings (1998) where he allowed the audience to play the drums while looking at his paintings. Mirza is exhibiting a number of these paintings as well as a drum kit as part of his exhibition in order to honour Fairhurst’s original intention for the work. Visitors will be able to make their own rhythmic contribution of noise, sound or music to Mirza’s controlled acoustic environment. An adjacent space presents drawings by Mirza, from the roughest of sketches to more evolved diagrammatic schemas. These open out onto a series of acoustic sculptures made in collaboration with Sheffield based artist James Clarkson that together build toward a complete musical composition. Collaboration and sampling are key to Mirza’s methodology, and a new online project, Sound Spill, creates an audio composition based on the overlapping sounds of existing video works by other artists.
Haroon Mirza (1977) completed an MA at Chelsea College of Art & Design in 2007 and lives and works in London and Sheffield. He received the Silver Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale for most promising young artist. Recent solo exhibitions include Haroon Mirza at Lisson Gallery, London (2011) and I saw square triangle sine at Camden Arts Centre, London (2011). Group exhibitions include British Art Show 7, Days of the Comet, Nottingham, London and Plymouth (2011), Life: A User’s Manual at Art Sheffield (2010) and For the Birds at Smart Project Space, Amsterdam (2010). His work has previously been shown at Spike Island in the 2007 group exhibition Working Things Out.
The elements used to construct Mirza’s work have in the past included found furniture, audio visual equipment, electrical components, fragments of other artists’ works and short pieces of film footage. The installations and sculptures in are similarly pieced together in a lo-fi, homespun manner. This DIY aesthetic suggests an underlying ethos of collectivity and independence, further elaborated by references to subcultures such as experimental music and protest movements.
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, London, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm and mima, and is supported by Arts Council England. A publication featuring essays by David Toop, Morgan Quaintance, Giovanni Carmine and an interview by Helen Legg and Marie Anne McQuay will be available in March 2012.
The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm. Entrance is free.
Saturday 21 January – Sunday 25 March 2012