The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents Recent Ouija, the first solo exhibition of British artist Ed Atkins in the Netherlands. For the exhibition the artist has transformed the 1100-square-meter lower-level gallery in the Stedelijk’s new wing into an immersive environment of monumental video projections, soundscapes, collages, and drawings.
Recent Ouija references the peculiar allure and uses of the Ouija board, a means of contacting spirits and demons through fragments of language. Commenting on the title, Atkins says, “To me it speaks of possession, occlusion, symbolism, belief, language and genre.”
Ed Atkins’ work reflects on the unprecedented potential of today’s digital culture and its consequences for our embodied lives. His videos show talking heads, body parts, fragments of music, and graphic text animations. In them, Atkins creates a world of illusion, in which the body is a digital fantasy, an avatar. Paradoxically, the effect is to make us acutely aware of our real-world embodiment and our life in the physical world. Atkins’ hyperreal virtual world confronts us with existential questions about mortality, love and intimate relations. Many of Atkins’ works can be regarded as computer generated performances. The movements and singing/speaking voices of the “avatars” (the digital protagonists) are those of the artist himself.
A symposium entitled Ed Atkins: performance/capture will be held on the afternoons of April 25 and 26. The event will reflect on Atkins’ work and will feature artists, interviews, poetry, karaoke, and films selected by Atkins himself. The themes addressed will include performance, identity, and digital technology.
Recent Ouija is curated by Beatrix Ruf and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen
Ed Atkins (Oxford, 1982) is generally regarded as one of the most influential digital artists of his generation. His work has been exhibited at a host of top venues, including Tate Britain (2011), MoMA PS1 (2013), and Kunsthalle Zürich and the Serpentine Galleries in London (2014).
Ed Atkins: Recent Ouija
February 21 – May 31, 2015
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Ed Atkins, Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths (still), 2013, collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
Ed Atkins, Happy Birthday!! (still), 2014. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
Ed Atkins, Even Pricks (still)s, 2013, Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
Ed Atkins, Ribbons (still), 2014, collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
Ed Atkins, Ribbons, 2014, courtesy of the artist and Cabinet, London
Ed Atkins, Happy Birthday!!, 2014,digital video Still courtesy the artist and Cabinet