Over the summer of 2017, les Abattoirs
has brought together nine artists who use animation as their tool to defy our conceptions of reality. This exceptional exhibition shows works from Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Kate Cooper, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, Jon Rafman, Avery Singer and Agnieszka Polska - all of whom explore our information-loaded era and our place within it. The exhibition raises many questions such as the impact that all these virtual worlds have on our real physical experience, as for example the digitalisation of identity.
Suspended Animation organised by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington) and in collaboration with Les Abattoirs, Mussée - Frac Occitanie Toulouse, is the unique stop of the exhibition in Europe. Held at the Hirshhorn Museum from February10th 2016 to March 26th, three more artists are taking part of this second venue.
Over the last few years, the increase in computer-generated images has had a huge impact on our lives, and the way in which contemporary artists have brought them into digital animation and art reflects this change.
The exhibition shows a range of prominent artists whose work explores the new realities of our era of non-stop information and virtuality from a humanist perspective. How does the virtual world affect our real, physical experience? What consequences will the digitalisation of identity bring? Are these virtual beings even more real than us?
The exhibition offers answers to such questions through various works from international artists who have chosen these tricky issues as their subject. The first floor of Les Abattoirs has been transformed becoming an immersive environment where our perception of this new virtual human condition is challenged.
The term "Suspended Animation" is used in science fiction and medicine to refer to the slowing down or stopping of life processes in order to conserve life, like pushing pause. Applied to computer generated animation, the notion rather refers to replacing the physical body with that of a virtual one. A huge part of our lives now takes place in front of a screen; a phenomenon which has lead the artists to rethink the body in relation to technology. Rather than mimicking the real, the works look at how reality can be shown in a digital world. Animation brings new ways of studying the relation between fiction and reality, what is real and what is simulated, human beings and their avatars. Throughout the exhibition, you will meet intriguing characters who reflect the mutations of this new technologygenerated human, and be confronted with the idea of the virtual human marking the end of the real, or being reincarnated in a new form.
There have been several exhibitions which have delved into the impact of new technologies in recent years in Europe - CO-WORKERS, Network as Artist (2015-2016) at the Musée dart moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the 9th Berlin Biennale, both mounted by the New York collective DIS, are just two examples.
Put together by Gianni Jetzer for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with Les Abattoirs, Musée Frac Occitanie, Toulouse, Suspended Animation, looks at the subject from a humanist perspective.