Stefan Burger, Benedict Drew, Graham Gussin, Jiří Kovanda, Ella McCartney, Jenny Moore, Joerg Obergfell, Konrad Smoleń: Containing the Possible

5 July - 1 September 2012 Main Space

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present Containing the Possible, an exhibition bringing together work by artists who devise objects or situations that have a sense of their own duration. These temporal works also have a metaphorical quality that emerges through a set of specific relationships with film, photography or the 'document'. Works included in this show re-construct, disrupt and challenge our relationship with the world, within fictional, virtual, private and public space.


Stefan Burger creates new conceptual spaces through photography. His works take on a material and an architectural presence that often troubles our reading of his highly staged images. His piece The Illusion of owning a third eye (arm) was developed from photographs of a scientific experiment (‘The illusion of owning a third arm’), where test patients who were given a prosthetic arm reacted to the tickle of a brush on this artificial limb. Burger re-staged this experiment, documenting his ‘experiment’ with out of focus polaroids and a combination of devices that collide with one another and question our perceptual tools and affiliated understanding.


Stefan Burger (b 1977, Germany; lives and works in Zurich) was awarded the Swiss Art Award in 2008 and 2009. In 2011 he was recipient of the Dr Georg und Josi Guggenheim Foundation art prize. Recent solo shows include Fotomuseum Winterthur; Instituto Svizzero, Venezia; Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart; and the Hauser & Wirth Collection, Henau.


Benedict Drew makes work across performance, video and sound. He uses film, audio and music to create new aesthetic ‘worlds’ that reflect on technologies and their political apparatus. Drew shows a new piece that explores the frightening power of a drone through a comic combination of hi and low tech devices.


Benedict Drew (b 1977, Australia; lives and works in the UK) recently had solo exhibitions at Zabludowicz Collection, London and Cell Project Space, London. He is currently a LUX Associate Artist and will be part of the Whitstable Biennale in September 2012.


Graham Gussin focuses on the relationship between performativity and photographic media. His piece Silver Form, presents a series of six photographs of a silver survival sheet suspended by coastal air currents. The silver form floats and transforms across the frames, appearing to perform for the camera. Gussin’s photographs draw on the fictions, histories and dramatic constructs of film. This particular piece was shot on the terrace of an abandoned hotel in Portugal; the location of Wim Wenders’ film The State of Things (1982). The plot of this science fiction film deals with an end of the world scenario in a geographic and temporal sense. Gussin’s piece plays with the idea of an unrecognised futuristic form or material being suspended in time and place, haunting the location, with the survival sheet stemming from the apocalyptic nature of the original film.


Graham Gussin (b 1960, UK; lives and works in London)recently had solo shows at Siobhan Davies Studios, London and Art House Foundation London. Recent group exhibitions include Turner Contemporary, Margate; Camden Arts Centre London; and the Sharjah Biennial 8. He is currently showing at the New Art Centre, Roche Court and will present new works at the fourth Guangzhou Triennial, China in September 2012.


Jiří Kovanda stages performances that map the relationship between the individual and the social. His constructed situations re-work and shift our perception of the everyday, leaving poetic traces that become relics of, or monuments to, human action and behaviour. An important proponent of conceptualism in the Czech art scene in the 1970s, Kovanda’s seminal work has only recently been rediscovered. After a long period of abandoning artistic practice, Kovanda has recently become active again, creating performance pieces, installations and paintings.


Jiří Kovanda (b 1953, Czech Republic; lives and works in Prague) recently had solo exhibitions at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Kunstverein, Milano; gb agency, Paris; Andrew Kreps, New York; Galerie Krobath, Berlin; and the Vienna Secession. Recent group exhibitions include the 30th São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; New Museum, New York; Künstlerhaus, Bremen; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.


Ella McCartney creates sculptures and photographic works that have a sense of duration. Using Brutalist architecture as a starting point for her photograms, McCartney’s works abstract these functional forms, using them as a device through which to create new relationships between image and object.


Ella McCartney (b 1985, UK; lives and works in London) has exhibited at the ICA, London; A Foundation, Liverpool; The Nunnery, London; and Peles Empire London. Her work is represented in collections including the Saatchi Collection and the Mizuho Collection.


Jenny Moore presents Proposal for a Rock Opera, a performance in 6 parts for voice, guitar, organ, and overhead projector. Through diagrams, music and text, Moore maps the territory between an artist residency in the idyllic town of Bergen, Norway, London and Winnipeg in Canada.


Jenny Moore (b 1982, Canada; lives and works in London) recently performed at Tate Britain and the South London Gallery. Group exhibitions include Art Mur, Montreal; the Bergen Biennale; and the Hayward Gallery, London. She will be part of the Whitstable Biennale in September 2012.


Joerg Obergfell explores the possibilities of public space as a stage, creating sculptures from found materials that are made to be photographed in these spaces. Here, Obergfell shows a series of photographs containing comic ‘flags’ made with a stick and a plastic bag, marking three sites in Canary Wharf, London. Obergfell’s humble, yet wry, interventions are inserted into cracks in the pavements in an otherwise deserted financial district; his resulting photographs like subtly altered versions of Atget’s early morning views of Paris.


Joerg Obergfell (b 1976, Germany; lives and works in Paris) is currently a scholar at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. In 2010 he was awarded the USA-scholarship of the Bavarian State Department for Science and Art. He has had solo shows at CEAAC, Strasbourg; Gallery Muro; Genève; Kunsthalle Mainz; and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart.


Konrad Smoleński creates multimedia pieces that manipulate filmic and musical tropes to invent a physical relationship between sound and image. In ŚMIERĆ the viewer is confronted with Smoleński’s brutal yet lyrical film of an ignited and crackling signpost that spells the word ‘DEATH’.


Konrad Smoleński (b 1977, Poland; lives and works in Warsaw) received the Views Deutsche Bank Foundation Prize for Young Polish Art in 2011. He is currently showing as part of Manifesta 9, Limburg and La Triennale at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.