Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Matt Stokes: "Desiring Necessities", John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK

John Hansard Gallery

Desiring Necessities
2 May - 20 June 2009

For a generation growing up through the 1980s and 90s, do the ideals of previous eras hold special significance? And if a search for idealism characterises the decades just passed, where will we find the values to react in today’s global crisis?

Desiring Necessities presents twelve emerging international artists who explore past iconic moments in culture. The revolutionary spirit often attributed to historic events in art, film and music can attain near-heroic status, yet only exists
through second-hand experience. The artists within Desiring Necessities test the strength and relevance of this desire to ‘live the original’, exploring re-enactment, appropriation and irony, and blurring fact with fiction.

Works featured include Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard’s remake of an infamous video documenting The Cramps’ concert at Napa Mental Institute, California, 1979; Susanne Bürner’s 50,000,000 CAN'T BE WRONG, replaying slowed footage of Elvis Presley fans (while never revealing the man himself); and Mario Garcia Torres’ semi-fictitious chronology of cinematic dates, Monochronic Film on a Polychronic Story.

Elsewhere, Cyprien Gaillard allegorises the failure of postmodernity in his bleak film-work The Lake Arches; João Onofre galvanises young Lisbon models into words of conviction, quoting Rossellini’s 1949 film ‘Stromboli’; Matt Stokes explores the 1980s Cumbrian ‘cave-rave’ scene; Patrizio di Massimo examines the cycle of Libyan empires and dictatorships in Oae, a multi-layered three film installation; and Conrad Ventur re-stages Andy Warhol’s screen tests, forty years on.

Participating artists: Susanne Bürner (b. Germany, 1970), Marcelline Delbecq (b. France, 1977), Patrizio Di Massimo (b. Italy, 1983), Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard (b.. England, 1972 & 1973), Cyprien Gaillard (b. France, 1980), Ryan Gander (b. England, 1976), Mario Garcia Torres (b. Mexico, 1975), João Onofre (b. Portugal, 1976), Olivia Plender (b. England, 1977), Jamie Shovlin (b. England, 1978), Matt Stokes (b. England, 1973) and Conrad Ventur (b. USA, 1977).

Desiring Necessities is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition curated by Ilaria Gianni. A special free publication is available in the Gallery throughout the exhibition, featuring a newly-commissioned essay by author Michael Bracewell, texts by curator Ilaria Gianni and Stephen Foster, John Hansard Gallery and contributions from each artist. The publication will also be free to download from

John Hansard Gallery
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ
Tel: 023 8059 7271
Fax: 023 8059 4192

Desiring Necessities
2 May - 20 June 2009

John Hansard Gallery Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday 11 - 5
Saturday 11 - 4
Free Admission

Matt Stokes
Real Arcadia: Outhouse Promotions archive
2003 - ongoing
Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, Gateshead