An exhibition of works by eight international artists who use natural and artificial systems. Each of the works constitutes a system and exploits the emergent properties, accidents or failures of that system to produce its effects. The works, selected from the Zabludowicz Collection, engage with industrial, found and raw materials, as well as sound, data and computers. The glitches and idiosyncrasies of software, the ecosystems that develop around organic materials, and the vagaries of machinery can be seen as evidence of new forms of organisation and self-organisation that often transcend the artist's specific intentions. The artists uncover a world of unpredictable and surprising properties, and foreground the accidental features of their chosen materials.
Cory Arcangel's Apple GarageBand autotune Demonstration (2007) applies a feature from an off-the-shelf software package to a clip of Jimi Hendrix playing the 'Star Spangled Banner', revealing the unanticipated and unsatisfactory shortcomings of supposedly optimal tuning.
Justin Beal's Fruit Tables (2007) play out the various stages of ripeness and decay of organic matter in combination with industrial building materials. Over the duration of the exhibition, the by-products of decomposition constitute an emergent ecosystem of fungi, moulds and insects that inhabit the sculpture and exhibition space. They also display an ambivalent relationship with systematic histories of 20th century design and the categories of furniture and sculpture.
Sean Dack's unique c-prints make creative use of the flaws that can spoil digital imagery. They reveal a seductive aesthetic that originates in the glitches, limitations and unintended effects of digital image technology.
Damien Hirst's monumental vitrine sculpture Sometimes I Avoid People (1991) creates a self-regulating environment, a microcosm in which the circulation of gases required for human survival prompt questions about life cycles, and the fragility and autonomy of the human body.
Haroon Mirza has created two site-specific assemblages of audiovisual equipment, household furniture and audio components and, in Paradise Loft (2009), an existing artwork by Giles Round. These installations produce kinetic and sonic sculptures that give an impression of being self-regulated. His works can be seen as technological ecologies, in which subtle shifts in individual parts can create a strong impact on the system as a whole.
Katie Paterson works with cosmic systems, beaming data in the form of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata from Earth to the Moon and back again, performing its return in a new and unpredictable way that carries with it all the unforeseeable details of its journey.
Seth Price's Chords (2007) features three compact DVD players with different soundtracks playing a film by the artist. The three partial tunes together create a composition which gives an impression of a harmonious work of art.
Charles Sandison's The Blind Watchmaker (2005) inverts the digital simulation technology used by police to create up-to-date portraits of missing people. Sandison reverses this aging process, which causes the disappearance of the accidental features that accumulate on a person's face, creating the appearance of a fictional newborn.
SYSTEMATIC is curated by Ellen Mara De Wachter, Zabludowicz Collection Exhibitions Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of live events and a publication designed by young design group The Entente, which features contributions from the artists in the exhibition.
Affordable limited edition artworks produced by artists from the exhibition including Justin Beal, Sean Dack, Charles Sandison and Haroon Mirza (with Dave Mclean) are available for purchase exclusively from the gallery.
Images: Stephen White and Tim Bowditch
Justin Beal, courtesy of ACME, LA
Damien Hirst, courtesy of SCIENCE
Seth Price, courtesy of Reena Spaulings and Friedrich Petzel, NYC
Sean Dack, courtesy of the artist
Charles Sandison, courtesy of Arndt, Berlin
All works in the exhibition are all drawn from the Zabludowicz Collection, one of the foremost collections of contemporary art in the UK.