“Semiocapital is in a crisis of overproduction, but the form of this crisis is not only economic, but also psychopathic.”
Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, ‘After The Future’, 2011
The exhibition No Shadows in Hell brings into question a contemporary state of subjectivity, which is the result of current social, political, and technological forces.
A progressive vision of the future has been called into crisis over the last decades. The new horizon we must confront ourselves with is marked by the consciousness of exhaustibility of environmental, economic, emotional and psychic resources. We live in a generalised entrepreneurial society, where cognitive work is fast becoming the dominant form of labour, information a universal commodity and production is mainly an immaterial ungraspable process.
No Shadows in Hell obliquely references JG Ballard’s novel Super-Cannes (2000), in which Ballard describes a near future where a ‘perfected’ pressured existence is based on corporate work and hyper-productivity. Set on the Côte d’Azur in the hills above Cannes, the gated business park Eden-Olympia is the incubator for innovative technologies that seek to monitor and regulate both the human body and psyche.
This is a society without accountability, self-policing and loosely monitored by surveillance cameras and contracted security guards. The enforcement of authority is inscribed into the individual’s own desire to partake into corporate principles, driven by career ambition, responsibility and emotional investment.
The title of the exhibition No Shadows in Hell alludes to the sunlight, which in the novel turns from a symbol of rational thought and order to an oppressive force that paradoxically hides in plain view the absence of moral or social values that underscore a perfectly engineered society. Through living an existence of complete corporate consumption, the mental and physical health of the elite residents inexplicably deteriorate. What keeps this ideal, sanitised community in balance are covertly administered doses of psychopathological violence that offset a tendency towards apathy and cultural malaise.
The future Ballard describes resonates with an acceleration, intensification, and overall exploitation of mental energies that characterise immaterial labour today. Italian philosopher Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi defines semiocapital as the shift of production from material to semiotic goods and increased psychic stimulation. Simultaneously overpowered by drug-induced euphoria, anxiety and a sense of imminent panic, the capacity for imagination and attention is collapsing under the stress of hyper-productivity.
New and recent works by Olivia Erlanger, Josh Kline, Jason Matthew Lee, Sam Lewitt, and Carissa Rodriguez touch upon the effects of physical and psychological disturbance, brought on by a general state of fragmentation and precarity that identifies the structural conditions of social and work relations.
OLIVIA ERLANGER (b.1990 in New York, USA) lives and works in New York. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: Dog Beneath the Skin, Balice Hertling, New York (2015); Meat Eater, Seventeen Gallery, London (2015); Material Uncertainty, Fluxia, Milan (2014); Flight, Center, Berlin (2014); Material Studies II—A House Falls Apart, Important Projects, Oakland (2013); Squig on the Horizon, Appendix Project Space, Portland (2013). Recent group exhibitions include: CFS USA TOUR, Center For Style, New York (2015); Drawings I Fridges, Greene Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2015); Under a Thawing Lake, Dark Arts International, Mexico City (2015); The Go Between, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples (2014); Today: Morrow, Balice Hertling, New York (2014); Man v. Evolution, Galerie Hussenot, Paris (2014); AirBnB Pavilion, 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice (2014); Ever Y Thing Zen, Jancar Jones, Los Angeles (2014); Executive Producer, Museum of Contemporary Art Oaxaca, Oaxaca (2014); Breathing Kevlar, Perforated Skin, V4ULT, Berlin (2013); Songs on Conceptual Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2012). Erlanger is a Co-Director of Grand Century, New York, alongside Dora Budor and Alex Mackin Dolan.
JOSH KLINE (b.1979 in Philadelphia, USA) lives and works in New York. Kline will have his first UK solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in August 2015. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: Quality of Life, 47 Canal, New York (2013); Dignity and Self Respect, 47 Canal, New York (2011); Loveless Marriages, 179 Canal, New York (2010). Recent group exhibitions: All Watched Over, James Cohen Gallery, New York (2015); America Is Hard To See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Overtime: The Art of Work, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2015); 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York (2015); Till the stars turn cold, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow (2015); [email protected]: Pleasing Artists And Publics Since 1963, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2014); Infinite Jest, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2014); Archeo, High Line, New York (2014); Speculations on Anonymous Materials, Fridericianum, Kassel (2013); Out of Memory, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2013); New Pictures of Common Objects, MoMA/PS1, New York (2012). As a curator, Kline has organised exhibitions at venues including MoMA PS1, Andrea Rosen Gallery, Gresham’s Ghost, Old Room, 179 Canal, and Canada Gallery in New York.
JASON MATTHEW LEE (b.1989) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: GLObal HELL, Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris (2015); Entropy, Eli Ping Frances Perkins, New York (2014); Too Many Memories, Bedstuy Love Affair, Brooklyn (2014). Recent group exhibitions include: Crunchy, Marianne Boesky, New York (2015); Liminal Sunday, Satellite Space, Los Angeles (2014); To the End of the Line, Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles (2014); De Generation of Painting, Fondazione 107, Turin (2014); Trust (Vita vel regula), Fluxia, Milan (2014); From Whose Ground Heaven and Hell Compare, Croy Nielsen, Berlin (2014); AirBnB Pavilion, 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice (2014); there is nothing personal of yours to exhibit, Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris (2014); BLOOMINGTON: MALL OF AMERICA, NORTH SIDE OF FOOD COURT, ACROSS FROM BURGER KING & THE BANK OF PAYPHONES THAT DON’T TAKE INCOMING CALLS, Bortolami, New York (2014); The Grand Opening, Shoot The Lobster, New York (2014); Day Before This Place, Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2013).
SAM LEWITT (b.1981 in Los Angeles, USA) lives and works in New York. Lewitt will open his first solo show at a US public institution at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco in September 2015.Recent solo exhibitions include: Verbrannte Erde: Second Salvage, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren (2014); Casual Encounters, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2014); International Corrosion Fatigue, Galerie Buchholz, Cologne (2013); 0110_Universal-City_1010, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin (2011); Total Immersion Environment, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2011). Recent group and two person exhibitions include: The Radiants, Bortolami Gallery, New York (2015); bare code scan, Fused Space, San Francisco (2015); Sequence 5, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2014); nature after nature, Fridericianum, Kassel (2014); Art of Its Own Making, Pulitzer Foundation, St. Louis (2014); Geographies of Contamination, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2014); and Materials and Money and Crisis, MUMOK, Vienna (2013); drunken walks / cliché / corrosion fatigue / ebay, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2013); How do it know?, Essex Street, New York (2012); Whitney Biennial 2012, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2012).
CARISSA RODRIGUEZ (b.1970 in New York, USA) lives and works in New York. Rodriguez will open her first institutional solo exhibition at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco in December 2015. Recent solo exhibitions include: La Collectionneuse, Front Desk Apparatus, New York (2013); Carissa Rodriguez, Karma International, Zurich (2012); Art Positions, Art Basel, Miami (2011); Busque El Ghost, House of Gaga, Mexico City (2010); Cherchez La Ghost, New Jerseyy, Basel (2009). Recent collaborative exhibitions include: Two Weeks, Indipendenza Studio, Rome (2014); Who Do You Love?, Mathew, Berlin (2014); The Politics of Friendship, Studiolo, Zurich (2013); Frieze Focus – Carissa Rodriguez and Pamela Rosenkranz; Frieze Art Fair, New York (2012). Recent group exhibitions include: “00RR000000 0000ZZ0”, Gluck 50, Milan (2015); The Contract, Essex Street, New York (2014); Theater Objects: A Stage for Architecture and Art, LUMA Foundation, Zurich (2014); chatbots, tongues, denial, and various other abstractions, Bortolami, New York (2014); Whitney Biennial 2014, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); Pro-Bio, MoMA/PS1, New York (2013); Better Homes, Sculpture Center, New York (2013); White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2013); Pro-Choice, Kunsthalle Freiburg (2013); Demanding Supplies, Kunstraum Lüneburg (2011).