Gerry Smith

 

A constellation of conduits was channelled between us, and our distance became water
Robert Cervera and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

25 March to 29 April 2023

 A Constellation of Conduits

Robert Cervera and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos  A Constellation of Conduits 2022


 

Private View: Friday 24 March 2023  4 - 8 pm

A constellation of conduits
was channelled between us,
and our distance became water

A collaborative show between Robert Cervera and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

This is what’s left of our city. A manic precarity jutting out of a liquid smoothness, desperately trying to stay up, erect, glimmering. But the glow of glass and metal has been overshadowed by the flatness of the waters, already invading the second floors of most large buildings. The old imperial dream, that concentration of colonial sighs and capitalist saliva, is slowly sinking. Its foundations have now been replaced by aquatic life, unexplained sudden gurgles, steady corrosion, liquidity.

An aquatic installation is spreading through the gallery space. It makes you move sidelong, curve along its corridors of affect, turn sharp at the next dystopian swelling. It asks you to swim gently across the expanse of water that has taken over the planet. It invites you to eavesdrop on the goings of a flooded city, and the genderless lovers in the centre of it all.

Based on the recent novel Our Distance Became Water by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (published especially for the exhibition by ERIS press), the installation becomes a body of water, air, sound, text, painting and tubular transparency. The textuality in the core of the work becomes gurglings, air bubbles, primordial sounds and spiced breath, an underwater forest of tubes, floating sheets of carton where our bodies might find solace in this drowning world.

In drawing their interdisciplinary practices together, the artists Robert Cervera and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos reached a moment of confluence. The work consists of sound pieces performed by Cervera on his tubular organs, composed around the recitations by Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos of extracts of the novel. These pieces accompany the installation of tubes filled with green canal-like water (a performance machine that the artists will explore at various live events) and the layered cardboard paintings by Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos. The spaces of the gallery are cast as an iteration of the theoretical research on Spatial Justice (A. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Spatial Justice, Routledge 2015) which understands law and space as tautologous, animated by human and nonhuman bodies perennially in conflict, vying for the same space at the same time in atmospheres of intense sensorial engineering.

Robert Cervera’s work looks at the leaky ways of formless materials such as air, water and data. He’s interested in our efforts to contain them, herd them and turn them into reservoirs, music, breath or code. His output includes installation, sound, sculpture, musical performance and videos that talk to each other about flow, bodiliness and material interdependence. Born in Barcelona and based in London, Cervera graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Sculpture. His degree show won the 2014 Kenneth Armitage Young Sculptor Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘To Vent’ Invites Robert Cervera, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2021); Ye_soft_pipes/play_on, Tangent Projects, Barcelona (2020); Yes And, Kelder Projects, London (with Peter Lamb) (2019); Tomorrow Starts Here, La Escocesa, Barcelona (2017).

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos is an academic/artist/fiction author living between London and Venice. His practice includes legal theory / performance / ecological pedagogy / lawscaping / performance lecture / video art / spatial justice / moving-poems / critical autopoiesis / radical ontologies / installation / picpoetry / fiction / sculpture / wavewriting / political geography / clay making / gender and queer studies / painting / continental philosophy / posthumanism / anthropocenes. He is Director of The Westminster Law & Theory Lab, with over ten books published including his monograph Spatial Justice: Body Lawscape Atmosphere (2014, translated in three further languages) and his fiction Book of Water (2022, Greek and English). His art practice has been presented at Palais de Tokyo, the 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019, the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, the Tate Modern, Inhotim Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Brazil, Arebyte Gallery, Danielle Arnaud, Ca’ Pisani Venice etc.

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