Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham, B9 4AR, UK
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Eastside Projects proudly presents a solo exhibition by Liam Gillick, one of the most significant artists to emerge from the UK in the last twenty years. The London/New York based artist directs the premier performance of ‘Lapdog of the Bourgeoisie’ 2009, a murder mystery set in Eastside Projects and a restaging of ‘Mirrored Image: A ‘Volvo’ Bar’ 2008 set in the ‘Volvo Bar’ a notional Scandinavian workers bar on August 8, 1993, the day before the Volvo car plant closed.
Liam Gillick’s practice combines a shifting set of modes that form a highly complex and transparent mise en scene. Gillick utilises the roles of artist, designer, critic, author, director and curator to produce artworks that take many forms from platforms and screens through to the use of sound, colour or text to adjust or filter a situation. He has referred to his work as prototypes and provisional structures that deal with compromise, negotiation, strategy, planning and speculation. His development of new methodologies is informed by a polyphonic approach to authorship and parallel narratives playing out scenarios such as the ‘What if’ scenario or an examination of the ‘day before’ as a model for understanding how to behave, activate and present.
‘Lapdog of the Bourgeoisie’ is a play in one act based on an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, set at night-time in the main gallery space. Staged as a visit to a critical culture mystery exhibition the shifting set of characters includes The Museum Director, The Art Collective, The Curator, Collector A & B and Liam. The characters are caught in a reality loop only broken by solving the murder that has taken place in the gallery. Birmingham based actors play the characters (who each play fictional ‘mystery’ exhibition characters) in rotation each day in an exhibition staged utilizing minimal props, sound and lighting.
‘Mirrored Image: A ‘Volvo’ bar’ originally transformed Kunstverein Münich into an active place of production through the negotiation of twenty years of Gillick`s work. Working with a group of young Münich actors within a structure designed by the artist, the script was developed and reworked into a series of performances that took place within the same exhibition. Transferred to Eastside Projects in Birmingham, Gillick’s eight act play continues to adapt the exhibition space as a stage on which social phenomena of a post-industrial society are played out, presenting a core aspect in Gillick’s work - the negotiation of models of communality. The parallel with the closing of car manufacturing in Birmingham over recent years adds an extra reality check to Gillick’s contingent mise en scene. Liam Gillick’s Two Short Plays presents a system of art production that is as multi-faceted and misleading as the complexity of contemporary society, functioning as a series of playful parallels to the dominant culture.