photo: Sebastiano Luciano, courtesy AlbumArte
On Thursday, November 7th 2019, from 6:30PM, AlbumArte, an independent space for contemporary art in Rome, will inaugurate the group show What is happening with sleep today? featuring works by artists Julia Gryboś / Barbora Zentková, Martin Kohout and Ben Landau. The exhibition, which will remain open until December 7th, is curated by Lýdia Pribišová who recently co-curated the 12th Kaunas Biennial in Lithuania.
The exhibition places sleep and its possible, but at the same time impossible commercial use in today’s society at the center of its reflection. It takes inspiration from the text of the art historian and essayist Jonathan Crary 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, in open controversy with the dehumanizing conditions dictated by neoliberalism and non-stop productivity which leads to a life without pauses and a sort of a “global slumber”. A condition that is redesigning the notion of temporality, outlining new and extremely dangerous strategies for the surveillance of individual subjectivities which undermine the possibility of individual political expressions and dissent.
The artistic duo Julia Gryboś e Barbora Zentková creates a completely site-specific environment entitled The Shallow Sleep of Emergency Mode II which is also a sound installation. With their work, the artists face the most tangible and sensorial aspect that surrounds the culture of sleep, inserting in the space metallic and fabric elements – reminiscent of the bed – and an immersive meditative sound at low frequencies that invites to rest but, at the same time, it also evokes the feeling of anxiety that accompanies insomnia and that is the side effect of accelerating our rhythm of life. The fragmentation of the installation reflects the increasingly gradual breakdown of sleeping in today’s life and questions itself – as do the works of Martin Kohout and Ben Landau – whether sleep is the last bastion of human activity not subject to external monitoring.
The film Slides by Martin Kohout is part of an ongoing research project about problems determinating nocturnal work, different steps of sleep, its alterations, the daily and more and more use of new technologies, our reactions both sensorial or mental to try to cohabit with this future that is already around us.
Ben Landau presents the multimedia installation Sleeper Cells, an experimental project that investigates the incidence of sleep in contemporary society sleeping and the subsequent dreaming open a connection with the unconscious now neglected by our hyper-real world, placing itself as a last bastion of freedom from the incessant pace of work. Sleeper Cells analyzes different situations where people shy away from the dimension of the conscious, preferring to explore the unknown worlds of their mind.
Julia Gryboś (PL) and Barbora Zentková (SK) are an artistic duo, currently based in Berlin, working together since 2010. They became familiar to audiences in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, after they were awarded the Oskár Čepan Award for young artists in 2016. They partake in solo exhibitions in independent galleries and artist-run spaces as well as thematic group shows. Among these are the 6th edition of International Public Art festival, Brno Art Open (2017), Temporary Structures 1 in PLATO Gallery in Ostrava (2018), Every Other Thing in Krokus Gallery in Bratislava (2018), Obraz wewnętrzny. Pojawiające się / Znikające obrazy v Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok (2018). Artistic residencies: ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics, Berlin, MuseumsQuartier 21, Vienna, Residency Unlimited, New York, U.S, PROGR Residency, Bern, Switzerland, The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York, U.S (Julia Gryboś). https://zentkova-grybos.com
Berlin-based, Czech-born artist Martin Kohout’s early study background is in film (FAMU, Prague) and fine arts (UdK, Berlin and Städelschule, Frankfurt). His work has a strong grounding in research, both academic and qualitative. His practice spans a wide range of medium such as film, sculpture, installation, print, events, and publications. In addition to that he produces music under the name of TOLE and runs a small publishing house TLTRPreß. In 2017, Martin won the Jindřich Chalupecký Award for young Czech artists. Martin works with Exile in Vienna, Austria, and Polansky Gallery in Prague and Brno, Czech Republic. https://martinkohout.com
Ben Landau lives in Melbourne and was born in Canberra, Australia, in 1985. Landau is an artist and PhD Candidate at RMIT University in Melbourne. As an artist, he has exhibited and performed at solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad: MONA FOMA (MONA, Launceston, 2019); Concept Generation (New Museum, New York, 2018); The Children’s Republic (Sydney Opera House, 2017); Time to Time (Meetfactory, Prague 2016); Algorithmic Misfits (Next Wave, Melbourne, 2016); Revolution without Movement (tranzit.sk, Bratislava, 2015); Coming Soon (Bureau Europa, Maastricht, 2014) and more. Artistic Residencies: Taipei Artist Village, 2019; Time Place Space, Victoria, Australia, 2018; Visionaries in residence, MeetFactory, Prague; IdeasCity, Athens, 2016; KulturKontakt, Vienna, 2014 and more. www.benlandau.com