Ed Atkins at Castello di Rivoli and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

Words by Elena Scarpa
September 6, 2016

The Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea have announced the solo exhibition of British artist Ed Atkins, which runs from September 27, 2016 to January 29, 2017, and which is organized in collaboration with the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.

The works Even Pricks (2013), Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths (2013), Ribbons (2014), Hisser (2015) and Happy Birthday!!! (2014), in addition to several new interventions by the artist, will be presented at the Castello di Rivoli, while the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo will host the work Safe Conduct (2016), which features new sculptural wall elements.

The retrospective, held in five rooms on the third floor of the Castello, unfolds as a holistic installation via an innovative arrangement of works that join images, space, sound, language and color into one seamless narrative, allowing visitors to have an immersive, hypnotic and hyper-real experience.

The exhibition reflects on the combination of tangibility and absence found in the phantasmagoric dimension of the venue: an ancient castle “under a spell,” perhaps inhabited by ghosts, where the expression of a material intangibility seems to be exposed by artist via the reality of HD and digital culture.

Curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev states: “The event’s originality lies in the installation conceived by the artist, which contemplates the emotional, historical and architectural features of the space where the exhibition unfolds. If the building is a body, then the brain is located at the top floor, in the attic, where Ed Atkins wants to be, the neurologic center of the building-body’s thoughts and emotions. The spacious rooms—formerly used as a military barracks—with their wooden beams on the ceilings and the red brick fireplace’s ascending central column, restore a metaphorical, ancestral place where presence and absence evoke the feeling of a ‘bewitched’ residence poised between the ancient and the contemporary.”

In contrast, the contemporary architecture of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo hosts the artist’s most recent work, Safe Conduct (2016), a three-channel video-installation whose images incorporate footage of airports that show travelers the procedure to follow in order to pass security checks. In addition to the video-installation, Atkins will also present a series of new graphic works related to Safe Conduct.

Regarding the Fondazione Sandretto, Christov-Bakargiev adds: “The protagonist gives shape to the anxiety that not only marks our age of fear and vulnerability, but also the exaggerated control of public space that, although guaranteeing our safety, ends up violating our privacy. The ever-transient confine between something real and something that seems real is one of the artist’s themes, as well as that distinctive feature of digital society, where everything is mediated.”

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