Vilma Gold is pleased to present, 20th Century Man, Mark Titchner’s fourth solo show with the gallery. The exhibition comprises new sculptures and text-based works.
20th Century Man can be seen as Mark Titchner’s attempt to explore and probe the current spiritual condition of man. Each of the works in the exhibition touches on a myriad of scientific, religious and philosophical references to power that have held particular influence over the past hundred years. A diminished image of the A-bomb, Nietzsche’s furrowed brow, a-maze-ing Jesus, orgone accumulators, omnipotent gods, Tibetan Buddhist prayer… all are used to discuss a sense of spiritual bankruptcy and a perceived usurpation of religious faith by faith in power, science, violence and state.
Understand the Weapon Understand the Wound is a freestanding, three-panel, screen-like structure. Its surface has been meticulously covered by 3,600, small, hand painted wooden blocks, which depict a greyscale pixilated image of the Nagasaki A-bomb. In the same pixilated style the image is capped top and bottom by the statement Understand the Weapon Understand the Wound. Whilst this iconic image is unmistakeably grounded in the 20 th Century the method of its production seems pre-mechanical and antiquated. The technique of pixilation and the fetishistic nature of its execution seem to literally distance the image’s legibility. Understand the Weapon… appears as an epitaph to the ultimate symbol of 20th Century scientific and secular might.
20th Century Man includes two further sculptures, which share the exhibitions title. Both are plinth-like in structure and relative in height to the human body. Resting on top of each is a flexible rubber cast based on an image of Fredric Nietzsche’s furrowed brow. Each of the heads contains five identical profiles brought together to form a single overall head similar to the famous Futurist bust of Mussolini. The first plinth has a black and white recurring motif carved into its five visible surfaces. The motif is a maze-like pattern spelling out the reverse name of Jesus. The plinth base of the second sculpture is a working replica of a Wilhelm Reich orgone accumulator. These tall, thin, anthropomorphic sculptures appear as a cross between an empty western totem and eastern representation of an, all-seeing, omnipotent god.
Six, canvas, flag-like banners cover the gallery walls. Digitally printed onto each is a design and slogan reminiscent of trade union banners and the designs of William Morris. Titchner has carefully scoured the cooperate manifestos of multinational companies to retrieve utopian slogans that hint at fulfilment and a better reality for all. We want to admit our mistakes, We want to act with compassion, We want to fulfil dreams… We want, We want… Titchner’s banners appear as an attempt to plot a migration from the economic into the political and the political into the religious. This movement can be seen as an echo from the mid-20th Century where the aestheticisation of politics, initiated by the powers at be, were counteracted by the politicisation of aesthetics.
Mark Titchner lives and works in London. His work has been widely exhibited and international venues including Tate Liverpool, Tate Britain, The Groninger Museum, Museum Morsbroich, Lehnbachhaus Munich, State Russian Museum and Museo Tamayo. Forthcoming exhibitions include a two-person exhibition, with Carlos Amorales, at De Appel, Amsterdam and solo presentations at Peres Projects, Los Angeles, Vacio 9, Madrid and The Breeder, Athens. An artist’s book written and illustrated by Mark Titchner, entitled Why and Why Not, was recently published by Bookworks, London.
For further information or images please contact Martin Rasmussen: +44 (0)20 7729 9888 or: firstname.lastname@example.org
20th Century Man
24 Sep – 24 Oct 2004