1 November 2013

Exhibitions: Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep, Tate St Ives, 12 October 2013-26 January 2014 / Sound Versus System, Kunsthall Oslo, 19 October-21 December 2013

Juergen Teller, Björk, Spaghetti Nero, Venice (2007)
BiM spotlights two fascinating European exhibitions this week: Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep, a major artistic retrospective on the vagueries of the sea, held at the Tate St Ives in Cornwall until 26 January; and Sound Versus System, a series of screenings, performances, talks and accompanying exhibition at the Kunsthall Oslo ending 21 December of this year.

The ambitious subject matter of the Tate St Ive's Aquatopia allows for an expansive coverage of aesthetic history. Fresh from the Nottingham Contemporary where it has resided for the past three months, the newly installed exhibition at the Tate St Ives (perfectly overlooking Porthmeor Beach) features works spanning from Katsushika Hokusai, J. M. W. Turner and Lucien Freud to Wangechi Mutu, Simon Starling and Marvin Gaye (Spartacus) Chetwynd, with many more between. Claiming that "Ocean myths both ancient and modern have been shaped by conquest and colonialism, and more recently by the tide of gender politics", it is perhaps unsurprising to find their printed catalogue brimming with not only literary excerpts but also essays from visual culture and historical theorists, writers, entertainers and more.

Drifting further north-east of Britain, Oslo's Kunsthall has its own busy schedule of events with Sound Versus System, featuring performances, talks screenings, art pieces and anything else that might "explore the potential of impure and hybrid forms, experimental relationships between sound and image, and the artistic disruption of both aesthetic and social structures".

The nine-week series of events and exhibition include the screening of a Norwegian film The Stone Wood Witches (1976) directed by Bredo Greve, which had been previously suppressed for being anti-proprietary and anti-Christian, as well as a major presentation of the forty-year oeuvre of experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer. Besides this, expect numerous improvised concerts, films and sound pieces, and a cinematic selection by Kenneth Goldsmith gathered under the guiding principle: "Easy is the New Difficult: A Manifesto for a Non-resistant Art".

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