Tania Bruguera, Douglas Gordon, Laure Prouvost, Cally Spooner are brought together by the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, in a comprehensive exhibition that coincides with the gallery’s survey of the late British conceptual artist John Latham. Entitled Speak, this new presentation invites each artist to extend Latham’s radical world view with their own sense of urgency. By exploring and using language as a medium for action, exchange and disruption, the participants collectively reveal how Latham’s ideology resonates in the present day.
Taking its title from a 1962 film by Latham, Speak sees the Sackler’s Powder Rooms transformed with an installation of video, light, sound and sculpture. In the main gallery, a bid for Cuban presidency and a composition of drawings, sound and a single live body are presented to the viewer. Key themes running throughout the four artists’ contributions range from taking an unconventional approach to the reception and transference of knowledge to prioritising the role of the artist in society as an agent for change.
Tania Bruguera addresses political and humanitarian issues in her native Cuba through performance and long-term social engagement projects. Her interventions parallel the ambitions of the Artist Placement Group (APG), co-founded by Latham, which positioned the artist inside industry with the potential to effect change. Douglas Gordon was first introduced to Latham at Glasgow School of Art, and he has remained an influential figure on Gordon’s work. The artist has responded to the gallery’s architecture by creating a site-specific installation incorporating Latham’s text works, drawing out their shared interest in the relationship between language and time, alongside a video work which revisits a conversation between Gordon, Latham and Hans Ulrich Obrist from 1999.
Laure Prouvost takes an intuitive and bodily approach to knowledge, drawing on the everyday and domestic as events merging life and art. Her experience working as Latham’s assistant in the early 2000s has provided a rich resource for her work. For this exhibition, she has created a multi-sensory immersive environment that combines synchronised lights and a sound narrative with sculptural objects and video. Lastly, Cally Spooner presents a constellation of sound, drawing, data and a live body. Her wall drawing wraps around the gallery, bringing together different streams of data – metabolic, professional and economic – extracted from the artist and her environment. Warm Up is a proposal for continuous restlessness and rehearsal, and appears daily, unannounced between 12-5pm.
A series of screenings, performances, study evenings and symposia at venues across London has been programmed in conjunction with Speak and A World View: John Latham.
Speak, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, until 21 May, West Carriage Drive, London, W2 2AR.
Find out more: www.serpentinegalleries.org.
For the latest news in contemporary art and culture, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
1. Installation view, Speak, Serpentine Sackler Gallery.