Magazine of art press and reviews from London
David Franchi – Wednesday, 4th November 2015.
The exhibition “Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments” was involving, at the Lisson Gallery, London.
It was the debut exhibition solo for Broomberg & Chanarin at the Lisson Gallery, London.
The London exhibition at the Lisson Gallery was an extension of a major show Broomberg & Chanarin had at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw (27 June – 6 September), which also commissioned the film Rudiments with Forma Arts, supported by Arts Council England.
The exhibition, in facts, rotates on the film Rudiments (2015), which is crucial. Here the artists have worked with a group of young army cadets at a military camp in the suburbs of Liverpool. Although the film was staged and prepared, the habitual activities of the military life still results difficult to understand for the public, including those endorsing authoritarian forms of obedience.
Broomberg & Chanarin’s film is focused on childhood and youth and their way to rapport to pain and disgrace. To represent this theme, the artists use the armed forces, the cadets and their habits, the military routines and hierarchy.
Particularly, Broomberg & Chanarin make reference to the 40 rudiments that form the technical foundation of percussive music, such as rolls, strokes and paradiddles. The soundtrack is boosted by a spectacular and unrehearsed drums work out by the American musician Kid Millions (aka John Colpitts).
The exhibition also included a live performance with two drummers, one snare drum, one chair, two clocks and a lead carpet. The drummers played a drum roll for the six-week duration of the exhibition, without interruption.
On the opening night, there was an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Group Drum Roll. This relay drumming performance started at 6pm on 24th September and continued for 65 consecutive hours.
The exhibition has seen also two large-scale photographic series, which are focused on violence. The first series showed bullets that have collided head-on and fused in mid-air. They were originally found on the battlefields of the American Civil War and are said to have successfully saved the lives of two soldiers.
The second series presents military grade prisms, shards of optical glass that are used in the sights of precision weaponry, but which also relate to the lenses found in the same photographic apparatus they use.
The Lisson Gallery exhibition coincides with the artists exhibiting as part of the eighth British Art Show (Leeds Art Gallery, 9 October – 10 January 2015, then touring to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton throughout 2016) and they are also currently exhibiting the new Every piece of dust on Freud’s couch and intervene within the Freud Museum in London (7 October – 22 November).
As a mean to understand the human condition, Broomberg & Chanarin investigate politics, religion, war and history, by using imagery. Initially trained as photographers, at present they work across diverse media. They had a photojournalistic experience in Afghanistan with the British Army and in the frontline action.
The artists Adam Broomberg (born 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (born 1971, London, UK) are living and working in London. Their work is displayed in major public and private collections including Tate, MoMA, Stedelijk, the V&A, the International Center of Photography and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Major awards include the ICP’s Infinity Award (2014) and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013).
The exhibition “Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments” was at the Lisson Gallery, London, from 25 September until 31 October 2015.