155 Vauxhall Street
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020 7582 0159
Gasworks is a contemporary arts organisation in South London housing 12 artists' studios and presenting a programme of exhibitions, residencies, international fellowships and educational projects. Gasworks focuses on visual arts practice, working discursively with emerging UK-based and international artists towards the development of their work. Through its programme, Gasworks aims to contribute to the dissemination of contemporary arts practice to a wider audience. Gasworks is part of the Triangle Arts Trust's international network of artists and organisations.
Artist studio or collective, Gallery
Wed-Sun 12-6pm or by appointment
Mouthfeel: An exhibition by Maryam Jafri
- 21 March — 18 May 2014 *on now
Gasworks presents Mouthfeel, the first solo exhibition in London by Maryam Jafri. Comprising the newly commissioned short film of the same name and a new photo-text work entitled Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (both 2014), the exhibition explores the politics underpinning the industrial production of food, connecting themes as diverse as “big food”, flavour enhancement technology and overconsumption.
Encompassing moving image, text, photography and performance, Jafri’s research-based practice often merges fiction and documentary to explore how historical and economic constructs manifest in everyday gestures, manners and items such as clothes, food and textiles.
The film Mouthfeel combines staged and found footage to unravel the politics surrounding the mass production of processed food. The staged scenes are based on an original script by the artist and focus on the conversations of a married couple who work for the same food multinational – a cross between Nestlé and Monsanto. Their exchange is inspired by theatre and television, where socio-political analysis is played out through familial dialogue with large doses of humour, hypocrisy and violence.
Set in the near future, the wife, a leading food technologist, and the husband, a senior brand manager, find themselves stuck in a stretch limo at a security checkpoint in an unspecified global city. The wife, played by Jafri, has uncovered a potential health problem with their new product, which her husband is determined to cover up. Along with excerpts of found footage sourced from different countries and which act as “commercial breaks”, these scenes address themes of convenience, good taste and the disparities between mass and artisanal forms of production.
Also on display, the photo-based work Product Recall: An Index of Innovation brings together “still life” product photography of unsuccessful food products from the private archive of an anonymous former brand consultant with related text and objects. These combine to recount an alternative cultural history of processed food in the 20th century that focuses on products that were either recalled or failed to find widespread consumer appeal. With reference to the vernacular language, imagery and iconography of advertising and display culture, this work reveals how agribusiness and the innovations of laboratory science are implicated in the mass circulation and consumption of everyday commodities.
Mouthfeel is the third exhibition of The Civilising Process, a yearlong programme of exhibitions and events at Gasworks inspired by German sociologist Norbert Elias’ eponymous 1939 book, which looks at the development of the tastes, manners and sensibilities of Western Europeans since the Middle Ages.
In Conversation: Regina José Galindo and Emiliano Valdés
- 30 April 2014 6:30-8pm
Artist Regina José Galindo discusses her practice with Emiliano Valdés, associate curator of the 10th Gwangiu Bienniale, and Co-director of Proyectos Ultravioleta, a multifaceted space for experimentation in contemporary art based in Guatemala City’s historical centre.
Regina José Galindo is a visual artist specialising in performance art. Her work explores the universal ethical implications of social injustice, discrimination related to race, gender and other abuses involved in the unequal power relations that operate in our current society.
This event coincides with the opening of A Chronicle of Interventions at Tate Modern, Project Space (2 May – 13 July 2014). A Chronicle of Interventions presents a response to the history of economic, political, military and foreign interventions in Central America. Beginning with an archival installation of Group Material’s 1984 work Timeline: A Chronicle of US Intervention in Central and Latin America, the exhibition gathers work by seven contemporary artists who explore the ramifications of these historical interventions that have shaped the contemporary reality of this region.
The event and exhibition is part of Gasworks' ongoing curatorial exchange programme with Tate Modern in partnership with TEOR /éTica, San José, Costa Rica.
- Any age
Lecture-Performance and Presentation: Maryam Jafri on TV Advertising and Liz Moor on Branding
- 13 May 2014 From 7pm
During her lecture-performance, Maryam Jafri will situate a selection of television commercials from the global south in specific social and historical contexts. These include: the 19th century rise of domestic science as scientific discipline made by and for women; the subsequent transmutation of this field during the early 20th century into the more circumscribed domain of home economics; the 21st century phenomenon of so called “tropical tech”, which refers to investments made by global IT companies into technology incubation laboratories in sub-Saharan Africa; and the surprising, sometimes counter-intuitive connections made between war and advertising in commercials from Vietnam and Iraq.
Liz Moor is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research looks at communication and representation in economic life and she is the author of The Rise of Brands (Berg, 2007) and Design and Creativity: Policy, Management and Practice (Berg, 2009).
This event is part of Maryam Jafri's exhibition Mouthfeel, which continues until 18 May 2014.