Bold Tendencies

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Over the last few decades the subject of Ecology has become an increasingly urgent issue.

Ecology is not a solitary investigation into the natural world or the way that organisms and environments react inside it. It is a lens for analysing all that takes place on Earth and beyond, be it cultural or natural; language or weather: objects, subjects, processes, networks.

In a world where Peruvian ice cores are stuffed with lead, corporations have more rights than humans, and gut bacteria helps develop infant brains – a world of gene synthesisers, hybrid corn and frozen embryos – the question of Ecology is more important than ever.

Finding points of connection between bacteria, artificial intelligence and recycling; rural and urban, terrestrial and extra-terrestrial, Bold Tendencies presents the work of artists that traverse this new ecological terrain.

Each new commission approaches the question of Ecology in the contemporary world in its own terms. Whether the revolutionary sounds of Haitian music, the vernacular architecture of rammed earth, or the bespoke packaging of an international courier service, each artist considers the interplay of this ecological maze.

The new commissions shift from organic elements to algorithmic patterns, sonic wormholes to vibrant skylines, representing a diverse field of aesthetic and conceptual approach.


Johann Arens (b. 1981, Aachen, Germany) currently lives and works in London. Using installation and video Johann Arens surveys the documentary properties of public interiors and their inherent social textures. By deliberately placing artworks atypically he redirects attention to places in the peripheral vision. His sculptures are found embedded in standardised work environments, educational frameworks, community centres, neighbourhood businesses and digital inclusion charities. These site-related interventions are enquiries into the multiple ways novel technologies device our communal life and shape civil behaviour. Recent exhibitions have included Findings on Palpation, P/////AKT, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2018 upcoming); digital_self, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2017); These Rotten Words, Chapter Art Centre, Cardiff, Wales (2017); Preis für Junge Kunst, NAK, Aachen, Germany (2016); You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Beursschrouwburg, Brussels, Belgium (2016). Public commissions have included Motion Tracks, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK (2016); Platform 2016, Deptford X, London, UK (2016); and 100 Arches, Arnolfini and Art and the Public Realm Bristol, UK (2014). Johann recently completed residencies at SPACE, London (2017), Asia Culture Centre, Gwangju, South Korea (2016) and at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2014/15).


Siân Lyn Hutchings (b. 1994) is an artist currently completing her Master of Fine Arts at Northumbria University. Siân’s practice is grounded in understanding environments through ‘active listening’. Her work approaches experience through an equality of the senses, working on sites as an aural architect. Through her work, Siân aims to highlight the importance of sonic understanding, acoustic ecologies, and how we can navigate experience through a multitude of senses beyond the West’s ocular-centric lens. Recent solo exhibitions include GB8NOE with The Noematic Collective, BALTIC, Newcastle (2018), Transmission in collaboration with Richard Waring, Sea Music Sculpture Anthony Caro, Poole, Dorset (2017); The composition of Sway, ArtSway, Sway, New Forest (2016);  and 48 Bags of Sticks, Sound Installation, ArtSway, Sway, New Forest (2015). Group shows include Re:Sounding, Audiograft, Oxford (2018) andStrange Pursuit, Vane Gallery, Newcastle (2018). Siân has completed residencies at The Arts University Bournemouth and the Imagine 2020 lab, ArtsAdmin, Slovenia, in 2016. In the same year she won the Best Collective Award with her graduating year, Free Range Shows, The Old Truman Brewery.

The Noematic Collective, founded by Sian Hutchings in 2016, are a collective who explore how we can understand place, environments and social impacts through sound. Currently the group consists of practicing artists, students and graduates from Arts University Bournemouth, Charles Pritchard, Georgie Ryan, Tobias Gumbrill, Oscar Lockey, Oliver Matich, Maddison Collymore and Sian Hutchings. They have exhibited in BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, The Drawing Studio, Arts University Bournemouth and have run sonic-based workshops at Goldsmiths University, Northumbria University and Arts University Bournemouth. The manifesto of the group is to increase the understanding and thoughtfulness of sound and the importance of sound where vision has been the dominant sense in western culture.


Irina Kirchuk (b. 1983, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an artist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, creating a vibrant and humorous practice through the interplay of material reappropration and artistic concept. Using found and destitute objects, Irina’s work comprises functionality with a novel sense of objecthood and aesthetic sensibility. Her unique visual language of Latin Arte Povera uses irony, form and urban ecologies to present a playful economy of the city and its life. Recent solo exhibitions include Liquidity trap, Zmud Project, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2017); Brochette, Irina Kirchuk & Dieter Roth, curated by Inés Huergo, Galerie Papillon, Paris, France (2017); Installation view, Slyzmud Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015); La tripulación (The tripulation), Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015); and Termo, Movil Center of Contemporary Art, curated by Alejandra Aguado and Solana Molina Viamonte, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014). In 2011 Irina was part of La Biennale de Lyon and in 2016 completed two residences in France, one at the Centre Intramondes, La Rochelle, and the other at the Residences Internationales Aux Recollets, Paris.


Lawrence Lek (b. 1982, Frankfurt, Germany) is an artist living and working in London. Lawrence is currently one of the leading multimedia artists exploring contemporary post-capitalist imaginations. Developing his unique brand of ‘Sino-Futurism’, Lek creates powerful simulations of future worlds where the relationship between labour, man and machine has drastically changed. Using gaming software, video and installation, Lek subtly shifts from utopia to ruin, history to fantasy, desire to lust. Lawrence ​studied​ ​at​ ​Trinity​ ​College,​ ​University​ ​of Cambridge,​ ​Architectural​ ​Association,​ ​London,​ ​and​ ​The​ ​Cooper​ ​Union,​ ​New​ ​York.​ ​Recent​ ​exhibitions​ ​include: Hyperpavilion,​ ​​Venice​ ​Biennale​ ​(2017;​ ​​The​ ​New​ ​Normal,​ ​​UCCA,​ ​Beijing​ ​(2017);​ ​​Glasgow​ ​International​,​ ​Tramway, Glasgow​ ​(2016);​ ​​SeMA​ ​Biennale​ ​Mediacity​ ​Seoul​ ​2016​,​ ​Seoul​ ​Museum​ ​of​ ​Art,​ ​Seoul​ ​(2016);​ ​​Missed​ ​Connections​,​ ​Julia Stoschek​ ​Collection,​ ​Düsseldorf​ ​(2016);​ ​​Secret​ ​Surface​,​ ​KW​ ​Institute​ ​for​ ​Contemporary​ ​Art,​ ​Berlin​ ​(2016);​ ​​Software, Hard​ ​Problem​,​ ​Cubitt​ ​Gallery,​ ​London​ ​(2015);​ ​and​ ​​The​ ​Uncanny​ ​Valley​,​ ​Wysing​ ​Arts​ ​Centre,​ ​Cambridge​ ​(2015).​ ​Lek has received​ ​the​ ​2017​ ​Jerwood/FVU​ ​Award,​ ​the​ ​2015​ ​Dazed​ ​Emerging​ ​Artist​ ​Award​ ​and​ ​the​ ​2015​ ​Tenderflix/Tenderpixel Artist​ ​Video​ ​Award, rapidly emerging onto the international scene.


Arjuna Neuman (b. 1984) lives and works in Berlin. Arjuna is a filmmaker, writer and artist that creates works reflecting the current crisis of anthropocentric cosmologies. Faced with an increasingly networked and digitised world, Arjuna’s practice utilises different epistemological frameworks to investigate a wide range of technological and cultural phenomena – from the logistics of the Transatlantic slave trade to the ecological fallout of American nuclear facilities. Arjuna has recently presented his work at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Istanbul Modern, Turkey; MAAT and Docslisboa, Portugal; Sharjah Biennial 13, UAE; Contour 8, Belgium; Bergen Assembly, Norway; at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the 56th Venice Biennale and SuperCommunity amongst others. As a writer he has published essays in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Magazine, Concord, Art Voices, Flaunt, LEAP, Hearings and e-flux. In the last few years, Arjuna has completed residencies at the ZK/U, Berlin, Germany (2017); Utopiana, Geneva, Switzerland (2016); and has two upcoming residencies this year at the  University of British Columbia, Canada, and the Bank Gallery, Shanghai, China.


João Vasco Paiva(b. 1979, Coimbra, Portugal) is a Hong Kong, and Lisbon-based artist working at the intersection of materiality, identity and space. Through diverse visual semantics, João Vasco Paiva’s practice continually provokes questions of objectivity and place. Using visual and conceptual cues to urban infrastructure, social architectures and lost communities, his work reimagines social ecologies from shifting perspectives: the outsider, the historian or the algorithm. Recent solo exhibitions have included Green Island, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong (2016); CARGO, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, Lisbon (2016); Dormant Fabric, Counter Space, Zurich (2015); and Unlimited, Media Arts Asia Pacific, Brisbane (2015).


Sterling Ruby(b. 1972) is an American artist living and working in Los Angeles. Sterling Ruby’s work spans an eclectic set of interests, materials and themes, gravitating around the history of 20th century American social structures: marginalised societies, maximum-security prisons, modernist architecture, artefacts and antiquities, graffiti, bodybuilders, the mechanisms of warfare, cults and urban gangs. Recent solo exhibitions have included Sterling Ruby: Ceramics, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, USA; traveling to Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York (2018); VERT, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2018); MIX PIZ, Vito Schnabel Gallery, St. Moritz, Switzerland (2017); Sterling Ruby, Gagosian Gallery, New York (2017); THE JUNGLE, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, Germany (2016); Sterling Ruby, Winterpalais, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria (2016); and WORK WEAR: Garment and Textile Archive 2008–2016, Sprüth Magers, London, England (2016).


Emilija Škarnulytė (b. 1987, Vilnius, Lithuania) is a filmmaker and visual artist currently based in Tromsø, Norway. Emilija’s works are vast, indicative meditations on our current ecological discourse. Her films traverse an epic landscape of geography, time and fantasy – bringing to life the indiscernible ‘hyperobjects’ that increasingly define our political and ecological crises. Interweaving images of imperceivable entities, such as quasars and neutrinos, with speculative histories of deep time and future archaeology.  Recent solo exhibitions have included Mirror Matter, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2017); Manifold, Podium, Oslo (2017); Extended Phenotypes, Viafarini, Milan, Italy (2016), QSO Lens, CAC, Vilnius (2015).  Selected Group exhibitions have included Hyperobjects, curated by Timothy Morton, Ballroom Marfa, Texas, US (2018), The Baltic Pavilion for the 15th Venice Biennale of Architecture (2016), The Future is Certain; It’s the Past Which Is Unpredictable, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston (2018); If These Stones Could Sing, Kadist, San Francisco (2018); Baltic Pavilion, AA and RIBA, London (2018). She has received Kino der Kunst Project Award, Munich in 2017 and the National Lithuanian Art Prize for Young Artists in 2016. Emilija has recently completed residencies at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2017) and Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale, Norway (2015), as well as recently spending time researching and filming at CERN.


Jenna Sutela (b. 1983, Finland) is based in Berlin. Her work explores exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Having collaborated with both microbial and metalloid life forms—ingesting Physarum polycephalum, the single-celled yet “many-headed” slime mould as a form of AI or teaching machines to channel the movements of natto bacteria—Sutela evokes possible futures of decentralized ‘wetware’ intelligence as an alternative to the modern urge to achieve domination over nature and each other. Her recent commissions and exhibitions include Extremophile, GUEST, GHOST, HOST: MACHINE! Marathon, Serpentine Galleries, London (2017); Sporulating Paragraph and Let’s Play: Life, Momentum 9, The Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, Moss (2017); Gut-Machine Poetry, ARS17+, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2017); Nam-Gut, Banner Repeater, London (2017); and Many-Headed Reading, transmediale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017). She also edited Orgs: From Slime Mold to Silicon Valley and Beyond (Garret Publications 2017). Sutela is currently artist in residence at Somerset House Studios.


Richard Wentworth (b. 1947) lives and works in London. Richard Wentworth is a chronicler of daily life. Since the 1970s he has played a leading role in British sculpture, isolating both the formal and sculptural qualities of everyday objects. His extensive archive of photographs, ‘Making Do and Getting By’ (1974 onwards), captures the provisional ways in which people modify the world they inhabit. It suggests an infinite syntax of adjustment, modification and appropriation. The private smile which spectators experience when looking at Wentworth’s work is associated with a deep human capacity to associate the inventive and creative with an internalized highway code for survival. Major solo presentations include Bold Tendencies, Peckham, London, UK (2015), Black Maria with Gruppe, Kings Cross, London, UK (2013), Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2010), 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2009), TATE, Liverpool, UK (2005), Artangel, London, UK (2002), Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (1998), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1994), Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (1993). Recent group shows include Foundling Museum, London, UK (2016), MAC, Belfast, Ireland (2016), Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015) and Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2014).

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