curated by Charles Lindsay and Shaoyu Su
Times Art Museum | Beijing, China
Artist Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos was one of the 10 artists invited by curators Charles Lindsay, Shaoyu Su and Beijing Times Art Museum to respond to the theme “Xcelerator” for the museum's 10th Anniversary.
She presents two new works - the multi-media installation EOaW and the performance Alchimies - and an extension of her on-going project Fifteen Pairs of Mouths started in 2016. Gathered within one of the museum galleries, these three works blend textures and esthetics to create an immersive environment where past and future, analogue and digital, human body and technological devices are placed in direct conversation to question our relationship with progress thru time and space.
At the center of the space, Fifteen Pairs of Mouths display fifteen unique gestures of people typing on their phone. The phones themselves remains absent; leaving a negative space in between the fingers that turns these familiar and commonplace gestures into a collection of figurative sculptures from another time. Influenced by Bruce Nauman’s "Fifteen Pairs of Hands", Kosmatopoulos, in contrast, explores the new role of the hand as a vehicle for communication in the post-Internet age, questioning their meaning at a time when the vocal motions of our lips and gestures has been replaced by the movement of our thumbs.
Above these white hands reminiscent of broken sculptures from Antiquity hang in straight line the cellphones of the multi-media installation EOaA. Flashing at an always-changing rhythm, their screens are visually reading out loud in Morse language the dystopian novel of George Orwell, "1984". Inspired by Nam June Paik’s "Good Morning Mr. Orwell", EOaW uses the same reference, to question our ambiguous relationship with the technological devices that surround us and their impact on our humanity.
Last, at the entrance of the room is a metal table with science lab props and remnants of casting materials left from the performance Alchimies. In the two weeks prior to the exhibition, the artist turned the museum gallery into a sci-fi experimentation laboratory where staff and guests were greeted by a team of performers in white blouses and invited to have their hands casted in their "phone-texting" gesture. Following a futuristic orchestrated choreography, participants were lead thru a cold standardized scientific process that aimed at capturing the fifteen unique human gestures that would eventually form the work "Fifteen Pairs of Mouths". A phone casually left on the table plays a video of the performance also available online (https://vimeo.com/284144519).