Selected II at Whitechapel Gallery
Now in its second year running, Selected is a programme of films picked by the artists shortlisted for the last round of the Jarman Award (2011), intended to offer a cross-section of what is happening right now in the world of British artists’ moving image.
Alexis Milne’s Jobseekers is a cascading ode to violence and direct action. With appropriating footage from Alan Clarke’s Made in Britain (1982), the film leads us through Tim Roth’s nihilistic rampage around 80s London. Milne utilised projection and reshooting against wooden boards to give the effect of the film continually falling to pieces in tandem, with the destruction being wrought in the film itself.
Benedict Drew shows the all too brief Sludge Manifesto, which almost tears the auditorium apart with its eye-popping visuals of a preaching clay automaton and grinding guitar noise. It certainly wakes everyone up after the forgettable (sorry, this was never going to be to my taste) A Kind of Correspondence. It’s easy to see why Drew is everywhere at the moment, utilising tropes of digital culture to create visceral, physically arresting artworks. Sludge Manifesto links nicely to his last exhibition Gliss, which featured an installation of a similar lump of clay alongside a video of it ranting and raging against its digital manifestation.
Un Space? by Markus Soukup is a good follow up – investigating the haptic qualities of estuary mud and the detritus of the maritime activity. It was a tad quiet compared to Drew’s bellow and could have been shorter, but overall, I thought it showed promise if not anything particularly new. A Removal Job seems to strike a chord with the audience, getting laughs throughout. Despite its comical nature, the violence with which the workmen set about gutting the house is strangely nauseating – up until the house has lost all of its homely features. It is as if there is a threshold between the human and the architectural elements of a house which alters the physical and emotional response to space.
It’s always exciting getting to see work by those who will potentially be proliferating galleries and independent cinemas in the near future, and I look forward to seeing how all of the artists shown, evolve over the next few years.