The video work series, ‘Evian Disease’, by Helen Marten at newly developed for Palais de Tokyo in Paris is the second one by the artist, which cleverly exploits the medium of digital animation.
Born in Macclesfield in 1985, the London-based artist studied Central Saint Martins in London, then at the Ruskin School of Fine Art at Oxford University. She was awarded the Prix Lafayette in 2011 and the Prix LUMA in 2012.
Formulated as a dialogue between six characters, her new video is a speculative composition, a wild chase in search of the place and speed of the contemporary individual. In forcing language to misbehave – to deaden or to excite – the domestic and universal are packaged into the same plane, with casual nature and transformative cultural chaos stylized as friction-activating themes.
Behind the sanitized, yet ultimately seductive formal vocabulary of digital animation and the relentless omnipresence of the spoken word, a plot – whose ends only momentarily meet – begins to unfold. Making assiduous use of the collision of surfaces, the meeting of symbols and the superimposition of materials, Helen Marten delights in the deliberateness of error.
The artist ties signs together and unties them, leafing between and contaminating subjects that force public life into categories: projection, status, environment, consumption, sexiness. There is a patchwork (and seams), but the whole process is one of progressive layering, of artificial knots, foils and surface diversions. In this complex network of borrowing lies an inclination towards today’s comedic and the communicational, the domestically motivational and the wonderful obscenity.
Simultaneously, a new show of sculptural works by the artist set within a bespoke installation environment is on view at Chisenhale Gallery in London. In her installations, sculptures and videos, she plays upon our reference systems of physical stuff and a coding of the visual that establishes our most elemental relationships to the material world. Language and image become stylized outings of error, misalignment or perversion. Using the outlines of recognizable things as shorthand emblems for social activity or exchange, she explores what it means to be a human body preoccupied with the status of toothpaste, the floppiness of pasta or the eroticism of rubbish.