Ed Atkins is one of the most distinctive representatives of a generation of artists explicitly responding to digital media’s ever-increasing ubiquity. He creates worlds of crazed artificiality and desperate realism. His computer-generated films feature shabby, lonely protagonists, represented with disarming and marked fidelity. His animations overtly demonstrate their digital constitution – their near-total artifice – even as they simultaneously strive for a disturbing level of realism. Atkins’ films get under the viewer’s skin, rendering a queasily uncanny version of the familiar – just as the idea of “old food” raises a suspicion of goodness spoiled.
For his exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau and the programme Immersion, Atkins has created a new series of works that build upon the allegorical possibilities of his particular brand of video making, shifting the aesthetic into ever more precarious areas of desire, historicity, melancholia and stupidity. “Old Food” is his largest installation to date. Videowalls and flat screens depict a choreographed chamber drama of dubious sentimentality and historical inaccuracy. These new computer-generated video works are installed alongside a vast display of the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s costume archive, presented in the manner in which they are stored. As objet trouvé, these elaborately manufactured stage costumes with their texture and object character form an antithesis to the high-resolution digital nature of the video works. They are, however, all connected by the artist’s enjoyment of producing alternative artistic realities.
Ed Atkins was born in 1982 in Oxford, UK. In the past few years, Atkins has held solo exhibitions at DHC/ART, Montreal (2017); MMK Frankfurt (2017); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2016); The Kitchen, New York (2016); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015) and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2014). The artist lives and works in Berlin.
Organizer: Berliner Festspiele / Immersion
Curator: Lisa Marei Schmidt