Auto – Destruct

Steve Carr, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Cedric Christie, Jean Luc Dubin, Lee Holden, Simon Liddiment, Stacie McCormick, Graeme Miller, Elena Montesinos, Owen Oppenheimer, Ben Philpott, Jay Price, Pascal Rousson, Rebecca Scott, Gavin Turk and Tisna Westerhof

Curators: Cedric Christie, Pascal Rousson and Stacie McCormick

Private View 18 April 2018 6-9pm

19 April – 12 May 2018

‘I wonder if great inventions are not the invention of problems rather than the invention of solutions’. Jean Hyppolyte

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is pleased to announce its April/May exhibition ‘Auto-Destruct’, a group exhibition of works relating to and reflecting upon the nature of our aspirational technological inventions and the destructive nature they become. Many of the works regard the automobile as the device that was seen as liberation, independence, a revolution for mankind, but that has in fact led to wars, contributed to climate change and is responsible for over 3,000 deaths a day. The ubiquitous vehicle is not scrutinised for its monstrous reality and current car branding still sells a lifestyle as a symbol of wealth, glamour and independence.

The exhibition’s title ‘Auto-Destruct’ is inspired by the work of Gustav Metzger. Metzger’s career was about alerting us to the risks in our deluded pursuit of technological progress, and of humans being eclipsed by their machine selves. Auto-destructive art was inherently political; also carrying anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist messages. It addressed society’s unhealthy fascination with destruction, as well as the negative impact of machinery on our existence. The exhibition examines themes of our fascination and capacity to be seduced by world changing inventions and technologies that may or may not lead to improvements. The duality of any inventions’ capacity to create benefit or hazard is only proven in the dynamic, perhaps in the age of all available, all the time information we may have come to a time we can achieve wisdom in advance that may move away from our auto-destructive selves.

Steve Carr
Senior lecturer in film at Ilam School of Fine Arts, Christchurch, New Zealand. He has established a name as a contemporary visual artist through an extensive exhibiting history over the last fifteen years in public galleries, project spaces and dealer operations within New Zealand and overseas. Recent solo exhibitions include; Variations for Troubled Hands (Ashburton Art Gallery, Ashburton (2017), A Manual for Small Archives, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2016), Bullet Time, Wellington City Gallery (2016), The Science of Ecstasy and Immortality, Michael Lett, Auckland (2015), Stretching Time, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2014), and Smoke Films, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012). Alongside this, his work has been included in a vast array of group exhibitions in New Zealand and internationally over the last decade.

Jake & Dinos Chapman
Iakovos “Jake” (b. 1966) and Konstantinos “Dinos” (b. 1962) are British visual artists, often known as the Chapman Brothers. Their subject matter tries to be deliberately shocking, including, in 2008, a series of works that appropriated original watercolours by Adolf Hitler. In the mid-1990s, their sculptures were included in the YBA showcase exhibitions Brilliant! and Sensation. In 2003, the two were nominated for the annual Turner Prize but lost out to Grayson Perry. In 2013, their painting One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved III was the subject of Derren Brown’s Channel 4 special, The Great Art Robbery. Most recently THE DISASTERS OF EVERYDAY LIFE 2017, Blain|Southern London

Cedric Christie
“What is Sculpture? What do you want it to be?
You asked the bloody question; I was hoping that you would be happy looking with your eyes.
Now you want to look with your ears.
Next you will be asking me if it’s any good or not, and that’s like explaining the taste of a lemon to a baby.”
(b. 1962) is a London based artist, where he continues to live and work. His practice explores a broad range of cultural and art historical references, often using humour and irony as subtle vehicles of communication. He incorporates and manipulates everyday objects such as snooker balls, scaffolding, and even cars to create sculptures that are meticulously and skilfully made. They become both a critical appraisal of modernism as well as a playful exploration of form and meaning. Cedric Christie has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally and has curated a number of large-scale group exhibitions including Something I don’t do and The Things of Life at Flowers Gallery. His work is held in the private collections of Anita Zabludowicz, Unilever and Derwent Valley Holdings, among others. Recent Solo exhibition in William Bennington Project Space, Bermondsey.

Jean Luc Dubin
(b. 1949) A darkroom, a red light, the revelation the moment the print appears in the tray. Then, the need to travel, street photography, portraits, working the human dough.
And as influences: Koudelka, Cartier Bresson, Depardon, Penn.
And then, stepping outside the framework, fine arts, music, conscious and unconscious experiments.
Understanding how to use speech through pictures, simply and sincerely.
Living and working near Paris, France.

Lee Holden
Lee Holden has exhibited widely at both national and international venues. Recent exhibitions include the group show 17×24, Every Day is Good Day, at Magazin 4 Bregenzer Kunstverein, Bregenz, Austria (2018), the group show I Can’t Go On, I Go On, at Gallery 46, London (2018), video work (in collaboration with artist Josephine Wood) screened as part of Sick Monday held at the Genesis Cinema, London (26th March 2018), a group show Feed London’s Hungry- Felix Projects at The Nunnery Gallery, London (2017) and solo show Insnar’d with Flow’rs, I Fall on Grass, at Angus Hughes Gallery, London (2014). He currently teaches on the Fine Art and Digital Media Courses at Lewisham Southwark College.

Simon Liddiment
(b. 1964) is a UK based artist. His practice is located somewhere in the standoff between words and objects, in the visual and verbal slippages that occur between what may be spoken or written, and the physical stuff of the world. The work is epigrammatic in the best sense – concise, paradoxical and witty – revealing an attempt to understand something and share his findings. It is about locating an appropriate form for the observation. It is somehow about containment. How it all fits together remains important – the shape of the idea, the shape of the material it comes in and the shape of the thing.

Gavin Turk (b 1967) is a British born, international artist. He has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of rubbish in art. Turk’s installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. Concerned with the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of a work, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. Turk’s appropriation of Lucio Fontana’s punctured egg paintings symbolise life, creation and originality. Turk’s ovoid canvases, however, are punctured with buchi (‘holes’) and tagli (‘slashes’) to spell his own initials.

Stacie McCormick
(b. USA 1962) Is a multidisciplinary artist. Conceptual pieces for Auto-Destruct came from a long established conflict of the love of car design as well as the romance of their glamour at odds with the damage inflicted. McCormick also paints from the layered evidence of time in the urban landscape. Documenting, photographing and sketching from the city environ, McCormick endeavours to emulate this layered evidence of time in her gestural abstract painting practice. The happened upon is often enough and results in a photograph or will form the basis of a series of paintings. McCormick’s recent solo exhibition “In Search of Paintings’ (Meno Parkas, Kaunas, Lithuania) was a selection of her photos that have inspired her painting practice and are her seeking affirmations of her practice in the urban world. She is the Director of Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop, supporting a diverse range of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists by providing them with space and time to develop their practice, championing principles of integrity and rigour.

Graeme Miller
Graeme Miller is an artist, theatre maker and composer. Emerging from the bold and influential stage work of Impact Theatre Co-operative in the 1980s, a group he co-founded, his own work now embraces a wide range of media. With the idea of being ‘a composer of many things that may include music’, he has made theatre, dance, installations and interventions. Often reflecting a sense of landscape and place, he regularly makes site-specific works to commission.

Elena Montesinos
& THE MONTESINOS FOUNDATION play around with what is around: money, official documents, trends and disinformation are amongst the favourites. TMF often works in collaboration with various other artists and aims to endorse inspired and independent individuals wanting to bring ambitious projects to life. TMF gives them the possibility to achieve their goals out of the beaten track of a very codified art world by uniting forces, using art as an iron hand inside a velvet glove. With the help from various “free spirited” NGOs, Swiss sponsors and occasional international partners TMF organizes Awards, Charity Nights, Special Events and Self-Curated art shows with a complete freedom of mind and a splinter of merry disobedience. THE MONTESINOS FOUNDATION IS NOT A SERVICE.

Jay Price
Jay’s collaborations extend beyond the art world in search of human relationships that influence and enlighten new perspectives and ideas. Her communication is precarious between the viewer and herself. It is sadistic vulnerability – taking risks with identity, exposing intimate histories, loss of self, and presentation that provokes judgment and fear of those judgments. A range of responses have emanated from this, from being laughed and shouted at, exposed to aggressive psychical responses, to being confessed to.

Owen Oppenheimer
(b. USA, 1969) studied painting at Cheltenham School of Art, followed by postgraduate courses at L’Institut des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastique in Paris and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
His practice spans objects, prints, short films and installations, which explore trapped psychological states – thwarted ambition, frustration, failure, loss – all threaded with a mordant humour. It is a world frequently populated by characters on the edge of escape, attempting to get away from their own limited lives, but repeatedly thwarted by the absurdity of the choices on offer. Paradoxes, contradictions and absurdities abound. Like something seen out of the corner of one’s eye. Or scraped out of it.
Of the piece exhibited in Auto-Destruct, Nowhere Really (Redux), Oppenheimer says, “it’s one of a number of iterations of a work I originally exhibited in a full-size 1970’s saloon on the streets of Holland. This ‘model’ version is a return to the original inspiration for the work: a toy car I had as a child. The object intrigued me for years as the driver and his passenger had been painted onto the surface of the windows. Somehow, whilst these flat images were meant to represent the same two people ‘inside’ the car, on the car’s surface they existed as a separate cast of characters – their front, back and side ‘versions’. My 6-year old self struggled to get his head around this paradox and eventually threw the little vehicle down some stairs in frustration. Nowhere Really doesn’t make any attempt to resolve this contradiction, but it is an apology of sorts to what I did to that car.”

Ben Philpott
Grew up on the south coast of England. He has lived in the west of England, Scotland, and in London, and has travelled extensively across the world. His work is centred around the way in which we need colour, form, and language, as salves for our unexplained lives. Philpott’s photographic archive speaks of this through a range of material and subjects. His written work, and his painting also regard our yearning for the salve s of colour, and of words.

Pascal Rousson
(b. 1963) graduated from Beaux Arts de Lyon in 1985, and from Geneva School of Visual Art in 1991. Rousson now lives and works in London. His latest works are part of a series in which he is revisiting Avant-Garde Iconic works through popular culture. In this case with some cover version of a series of Picasso’s Nudes and Portrait of Woman Sitting, re-enacting through painting the idea of fragmentation, collage and cut-out of the subject, as in Cubist or Modernist paintings, where figures and objects were dissected, cut or “analysed” into a multitude of small facets and collages.

 Rebecca Scott
(b. 1960) Cumbria, Rebecca Scott studied in London at Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths University. She has exhibited in London, Cumbria, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden and Norway and has work in private and public collections nationally and internationally. She currently lives and works between London and Cumbria. The underlying concept running throughout her work is one of female desire and female subjectivity. For over 30 years, since graduating with an MA from Goldsmiths in 1987, she has worked with these themes progressing through a series of subjects across painting and installation, aiming to create her own visual language.

Tisna Westerhof
Tisna takes the fabric of domestic life, from family snaps and children’s clothes to ceramics and embroidery, and reconfigures it into work that explores nostalgia, identity and the loss of innocence. While her practice is grounded in printmaking, Tisna revels in breaking down the limitations of materials and reinventing traditional handicrafts. She produces highly tactile works that capture a child like sense of delight with a combination of humour and melancholy. As one of a twin, Tisna is fascinated by dualities and her personal experience of loosing an older sister suffuses her work with warmth, intimacy and a sen.


Click here to see the List of Works.