The International Project Space is pleased to present the first in a series of three person exhibitions that will draw together a number of related themes prevalent within contemporary art and culture. The opening exhibition will present new work by internationally acclaimed artists Melanie Gilligan, Michael Stevenson and Emily Wardill. Through these respective practices the exhibition will attempt to visualize the abstract economic and political theories of how financial crises develop and how, theoretically, they can be prevented.
Crisis In The Credit System (2008) is a four-part drama dealing with the credit crisis, scripted and directed by artist Melanie Gilligan. A major investment bank runs a brainstorming and role-playing session for its employees, asking them to come up with strategies for coping with today’s dangerous financial climate. Role-playing their way into increasingly bizarre scenarios, they find themselves drawing disturbing conclusions about the deeper significance of the crisis and its effects beyond the world of finance.
Using fiction to communicate what is left out of documentary accounts of the crisis, the short, TV-style episodes reflect the strangeness of life today in which the financial abstractions that govern our lives appear to be collapsing.
Crisis in the Credit System, commissioned and produced by Artangel Interaction, is the result of extensive research and conversation with major hedge fund managers, key financial journalists, economists, bankers and debt activists.
Michael Stevenson will present The Bull And The Beginning Of The World(2009), a 35mm slide projection of an illustration taken from his forthcoming publication which will take the form of an anthology of illustrated fables.
The economy has been of central interest to the artist and these stories are based on the subject of art and the business cycle. Initially a small number of stories were realized by Stevenson and Jan Verwoert (contributing writer to Frieze Magazine), whereupon Verwoert and the artist co-wrote fables as the written component to Stevenson’s project Lender of Last Resort 2008 at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Holland. The writings engage fields as diverse as economy, anthropology and philosophy via a multi-disciplinary approach using writing, drawing and also performance (keeping in mind the fable’s oral potential). The illustrations are derived from graphic styles common in the early 20th century. The 1920s are a particular point of reference here, as they are known as a period of financial experimentation and crisis, which was indeed the framework through which the Kröller-Müller project evolved.
Emily Wardill’s contribution, Sea Oak (2008), is an imageless 16mm film. Shown in the sole spotlight of the space, only the apparatus – the film projector – can be seen staged like a sculpture. The film’s content is developed from a series of interviews conducted by the left-orientated Think ‘The Rockridge Institute’ in Berkeley, California. The Institute focused its research between 2001 until its closure in 2008 on contemporary political rhetoric with an emphasis on the employment of metaphor and framing.
Sea Oak traverses the use of symbolism in and through politics and the methods in which emotional values and religious paradigms have been woven into Republican discourse. The film tracks the impact of right-wing think tanks in America that are used to explore ideas of commonality, and the conservatives’ use of language and metaphor to co-opt progressive ideas.
The title of the work is taken from the name of an industrial housing estate in a short story by George Saunders. Sea Oak is a settlement where there are neither oaks nor any view of the sea, just a hundred subsidized apartments and a rear view of FedEx.
Benjamin Alexander Huseby
The International Project Space is also pleased to present NOTICES, a new project space that will co-exist alongside the forthcoming program of exhibitions. NOTICES will present a series of works by international artists, designers, musicians, photographers and writers. The opening contribution will be May In April (2009) by Benjamin Alexander Huseby. Huseby is a photographer of Norwegian/Pakistani descent who was born in 1978, and grew up outside Oslo in Norway. He came to Chelsea School of Art in London to study Fine Art in 1997, during which time he began making fashion imagery for Dazed & Confused magazine. Since then he has gone on to work with high-profile stylists including Nicola Formichetti, Cathy Edwards, and Jane How. He has contributed to a number of fashion magazines including i-D, Vogue (US and UK), V, Another Magazine, Another Man, Pop, Arena Homme + and Self Service. His work has recently been shown at the Whitechapel Art Galley and in solo shows at KunstWerke (Berlin), Fotogalleriet (Oslo) and Dicksmith Gallery (London).
The International Project Space would like to thank Rachel Elliston, Jonathan Viner, Standard Gallery (Oslo), IKON Gallery and Vilma Gold for their support in the realisation of this exhibition.