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Paris | Ed Atkins, “Bastards” – Palais de Tokyo

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - 2016-07-13

Until 7 September 2014, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris you can see the exhibition Ed Atkins, “Bastards”. Through videos, installations, texts and drawings, Ed Atkins (b. 1982, lives and works in London) has developed an extremely singular body of work where certain paradoxes of our time are performed and critiqued.
How might one manage to apprehend the essence of things, the emotional interiority of beings—those intangible aspects of our lives—through matter, through our bodies? Underpinned by writing that confuses signs, references and sources—where image and language intertwine and one cannot be sure whether to look or to read—the artist makes work that performs a powerful travesty of our self-image. Ed Atkins is interested in returning the matter that eludes the embodiment of oneself so often kept beyond availability. Citing writers and thinkers from Maurice Blanchot to Catherine Malabou, themes of disappearance, immanence and embodiment are recurrent in Atkins’ oeuvre—personified in the figure of the cadaver, performing as both dramatis personae and mortal limit.

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For his first exhibition in France, Ed Atkins presents Ribbons (2014), a monumental three-channel High Definition video installation whose soundtrack invades the entire exhibition space.
The protagonist’s speech, which oscillates between lamentation, self-loathing and desperate plea, enters into a rhythm with the video’s entire structure; a place where his phantasmatic thoughts drift and echo within a continuous flux of image, text and music. Delirious, possessed and monstrous, the figure is “under influence,” defined by external control: alcohol, social consensuses, mores, the haunted digital medium and the artist himself. At the center of the work lies a primary question regarding self-representation, of an internal slipperiness of being, of doubt, that the artist performs—makes literal—through the use and misuse of digital technologies; magical, paradoxical forms that loiter between this world and another, between the materiality of bodies and that ungraspable immaterial.

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Ed Atkins, “Bastards”, exhibition
Palais de Tokyo, Paris

6 June / 7 September 2014
Curator: Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel


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See more:  http://palaisdetokyo.com/en

Photos:
Vue de l’exposition monographique d’Ed Atkins “Bastards” (06.06.14 – 07.09.14), Palais de Tokyo.
Ed Atkins, Ribbons 2014 Courtesy of the artist, Cabinet (London) and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin).
Courtesy of the artist and of the Cabinet (London).© Ed Atkins and Cabinet (London)
Photo: Aurélien Mole.

Text and images courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

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