© Olaf Nicolai

Olaf Nicolai: The Blondes, 2003-2005
Series of 42 C-Prints. 33 x 24 cm

Changes of Mind: Belief and Transformation

Nathan Coley
, Roberto Cuoghi, Douglas Gordon, Mariko Mori, Olaf Nicolai, Pietro Roccasalva, Magda Tothova, Bill Viola

"Changes of Mind" is a group show that brings together works in a range of media that explore concepts of belief and transformation. The artists presenting work in the exhibition come from diverse cultural backgrounds and are at different stages of their careers - from emerging to internationally acclaimed. They include Nathan Coley, Roberto Cuoghi, Douglas Gordon, Mariko Mori, Olaf Nicolai, Pietro Roccasalva, Magda Tothova and Bill Viola. The majority of the works are on show in London for the first time.

The idea of spiritual or intellectual transformation links the works in "Changes of Mind". Frequently drawing on their own cultural and individual histories, each of the artists examines how people, whether individually or en masse, come to terms with their own identity and changes in their lives. What emerges are contemporary perceptions of who we are and how we cope, whether rooted in politics, history, or more personally in discontentment, angst or inner growth - to varying degrees of positive or negative effect. At the crux of all of the works is the notion of belief - tangible or intangible - and the power of the mind to conjure a constantly shifting image of self.

For Nathan Coley (born Glasgow, 1967, lives and works in Dundee, Scotland) buildings are empty vessels given significance by their social history and by the communities that populate them. He is interested in exploring how these cultural views and ideas differ with the passage of time and from location to location. For "Changes of Mind", Coley presents "Jerusalem Syndrome", 2005 a new two screen video work, that explores how the city of Jerusalem has been credited with radically affecting the perceptions and actions of visitors.

Roberto Cuoghi (born Milan, 1973, lives and works in Milan, Italy) is best known for living as if he were his father for seven years, a work that the artist categorises as a "transformation". Throughout his oeuvre he explores ways of altering the experiences, representations and expectations of daily life. For "Changes of Mind" he presents "Foolish Things", 2002, a video recording a sun rising and then setting, the action so slow as to be virtually imperceptible. Past viewers of the work have attested to seeing events in the film, including anti-aircraft fire. Cuoghi also presents "Untitled", 2005 an image of Cuoghi as an old-man, his face composed of toys.

Douglas Gordon (born 1966, Glasgow, lives and works in New York) presents a new work related to an ongoing "family" of works that represent the human hand. Underlying Gordon's work is a fascination with doubling, where contradicting or opposing conditions co-exist, such as good and evil or fiction and reality. For example, in "Scratch Hither", 2002, a forefinger beckons you across the room. The closer the viewer gets to the screen, the more the gesture seems compulsive, strange and sexually explicit.

Mariko Mori (born 1967, Tokyo, lives and works in New York and Tokyo) presents "Moonstone", 2004, a sculpture whose shape brings together forms sacred to two different ancient cultures, the Ziggurat of Mayan and Mesopotamian civilization and the round stone of the Neotholic Jomon period in Japan. In the religious activities of these two cultures, the forms represent primitive cosmological beliefs, serving as a mediator between the world of the mundane and the supernatural. Mori takes these forms and unites them in a work that encourages the viewer to contemplate notions of natural order and harmony.

Olaf Nicolai (born 1962, Halle/Saale, East Germany, lives and works in Berlin) appropriates images and concepts from diverse sources including fashion and astrology, and transposes them into artworks that question how objects generate perceptions and identities. For "Changes of Mind" he presents "The Blondes", 2003-05, a photo series in 42 parts. Nicolai stablished a hairdressing shop whose walls were covered in famous images of blondes in artwork, and invited the public to have their hair bleached. The resulting artworks challenge the viewer's in-built cultural stereotypes of the blonde in art and popular culture.

Pietro Roccasalva (born 1970 Modica, lives and works in Milan) is obsessed by the image's capacity for artifice and seduction. For "Changes of Mind", Roccasalva presents two works from his series "Fisheye", 2003-2005, a 3-D animation video and a digital drawing. In the video the viewer circles an architectural model of a church, before being giving an aerial view of the work where the dome has been transformed into the shape of a lemon-squeezer. In the digital drawing, Roccasalva traces the route of the model inside the animated environment.

For "Changes of Mind", Magda Tothova (born 1979 Bratislava, lives and works in Vienna, Austria) presents "Lenin and the Maiden", 2003. In this video work she passionately caresses a small statue of Lenin, transforming the committed revolutionary leader into a teen heart-throb. Tothova's work explores her relationship to Communism, the belief system with which she grew up, now discredited and vilified.

Bill Viola (born 1951, New York, lives and works in Los Angeles) presents "Unspoken (Silver and Gold)", 2001 where video sequences of a woman and a man are projected onto two adjacent wood panels of silver and gold leaf, respectively. The highly textured surfaces reflect and colour the projected light, greatly altering the appearance of the image. The man and woman are seen in close-up as grainy, indistinct images recorded under very low light conditions. They each silently endure states of extreme anguish as waves of emotion wash over them in unrelenting succession.

Exhibition: 7 July - 25 August, 2005
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10 am - 6 pm, Thu 10 am - 7 pm,
Sat 10 - 5 pm

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