COMPLEX STATES: Art in the years of Brexit
Curated by Catherine Harrington & Vassiliki Tzanakou
(Virtual Exhibition) October 28th 2020
Extended to 31st March 2021: complexstates.art
The Festival of Brexit Britain, 2018
Print on 250gsm paper, 50 x 70cm
Richard Littler is a writer, graphic artist and the creator of Scarfolk.
“The Festival of Brexit Britain” poster was inspired by the poster created by Abram Games for the Festival of Britain in 1951.
Exhibition dates: 28th October – 31st December 2020 – Now extended until 31st March 2021.
Jason Decaires- Taylor
Gil Mualem Doron
Quiet British Accent
Bob & Roberta Smith
ARTinTRA proudly presents “Complex States”, an international exhibition that comes as a timely and urgent response to both the divisive events of “Brexit” and the “Covid-19” pandemic. With more than 30 international artists, 13 venues and a cutting edge augmented reality platform, the exhibition will launch on the 28th of October 2020 and last until the 31st of December 2020 when the Brexit process draws to a close. As an exhibition that traverses nations, as well as the physical and virtual, Complex States offers a platform for renewed trans-national dialogue, collaboration and cultural exchange.
Brexit has stirred, divided and disturbed Britons, British residents, their fellow Europeans, and the wider international community. “Complex States” presents a more holistic portrait of Brexit and takes place in venues internationally in order to heal divides, develop international dialogue and help repair relationships damaged in the wake of the UK’s controversial departure from the EU. Curated by Vassiliki Tzanakou (Director of ARTinTRA) and Catherine Harrington, “Complex States” platforms critical engagements with Brexit by artists including Jeremy Deller, Jason Decaires-Taylor, Richard Littler, Stephane Graff, Michal Iwanowski, and Rita Duffy. The exhibition brings together a wide selection of media, from paintings and sculpture to videos and installations with the aim of shedding light on the ways artists have responded to Brexit, and the urgent topics of identity, migration, globalisation, social media, and ‘fake news’ that Brexit has provoked.
Employing the latest augmented reality technologies, Tzanakou and Harrington have imaginatively and successfully reconstructed the entire exhibition experience for the viewer. The exhibition was originally planned to be housed in a traditional gallery space in Whitechapel, London. Yet the challenges brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic required the curators to find an alternate approach through swift, innovative and unique thinking. The result not only deftly negotiates these logistical concerns, but also perfectly reflects the outward-looking and truly global nature of the project. Complex States has developed into a “mixed experience exhibition that crosses political and physical boundaries celebrating dialogue, collaboration and cultural exchange,” states Tzanakou. Selected artworks will be exhibited individually at one of a variety of venues and locations, including London’s Gallery 46, Cork’s Crawford Gallery, and California’s Bombay Beach Biennale. Simultaneously, all artworks in the show are brought together on an online platform featuring cutting-edge augmented reality experiences. This novel platform was built in collaboration with afca., a Swiss software company leading in mixed reality. Here, Tzanakou and Harrington offer a key example of a curatorial practice that responds creatively to the challenges that Covid-19 poses. They also hand a lifeline to other curators through an ambitious new application (Complex States AR App)., enabling curators, artists, galleries and art lovers new to curating to deliver both private or accessible via mobile phone exhibitions. Given the unprecedented precarity of our current lives, this is exactly the kind of curatorial application we need; an app that effortlessly facilitates anyone, anywhere, to experience and share art.
Although the Complex States project and the Brexit processes will come to a close on the 31st of December, the work of its curators is far from finished. Given the far-reaching and enduring impact of both Brexit and Covid-19, Tzanakou and Harrington seek to incorporate more people, artists, and venues into their network and through their AR platform, to allow us all to cross borders and break the boundaries of our realities.
ARTinTRA is a London based fine art advisory and curatorial platform founded in 2014 by Vassiliki Tzanakou specialising in modern and contemporary art. Operating as a network of emerging, mid-career and established artists as well as creative minds; ARTinTRA commissions, produces and manages innovative art projects in public, private and digital spaces.
afca. is a software company based in Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The IT company excels in areas of cloud computing and user software. In addition to conventional web and mobile apps, afca. has made a name for itself in recent years in the field of augmented reality technologies. In 2018 afca. was the first Swiss company to be accepted into Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Partner Program.