artist / participant

press release

Gasworks presents the first solo exhibition in a London public gallery by Tim Etchells, bringing together two works previously unseen in the UK.

Showing an attempt to translate the specialised language of art into edibles for the public, Art Flavours (2008) explores the potential and limitations of communication between different discourses and cultural frames.

Initially developed for Manifesta 7 in Italy, the starting point of the work was a meeting between the curator Roberto Pinto and the ice cream maker Osvaldo Castellari. Entrusted by Etchells, Pinto summarised four categories relevant to contemporary art practice: 'the body', 'memory', 'spectacle' and 'the archive'. In turn, Castellari's role was to translate these concepts into four ice cream flavours. The video of the discussion between the curator and the ice cream master sees the latter grow increasingly sceptical, anxious and daunted by the task ahead of him.

Made up of twenty text works displayed in a sequence, City Changes (2008) traces a process of linguistic manipulation. Starting with a description of a city in which nothing ever changes, the following texts present evolving and often contradictory versions of the same place.

As in the game of Chinese whispers, the initial representation mutates with each rewriting, whilst the additions and deletions are made visible in different colours for each modification. The evolving sequence of City Changes reflects the artist's interest in the narrative tropes relating to urban structures and city life. The work playfully unpacks some of the political and emotional baggage carried by concepts such as change and stability, chaos and stasis. Tracing the transformation of a single text through contradictory versions, the series of prints also renders visible the process of writing itself, exposing the decisions, additions and omissions of each new incarnation.

Tim Etchells (1962) is an artist and writer based in the UK. Working in a wide variety of contexts, he is the artistic director of the world-renowned performance group Forced Entertainment. Etchells has collaborated with a range of visual artists, choreographers and photographers and his work spans performance, video, photography, text projects, installation and fiction. Etchells is the author of Certain Fragments (Routledge, 1999) and published his first novel The Broken World (Heinemann) in 2008. He has exhibited widely in venues including MACBA, Barcelona (2009), Göteborg Biennial (2009), Art Sheffield (2008) and Manifesta 7 (2008). He is the current recipient of the Legacy: Thinker in Residence award set up by Tate Research and Live Art Development Agency.

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Tim Etchells