Submission
ED ATKINS

TWO BURLESQUES

The Espace Louis Vuitton München is pleased to present Two Burlesques, an exhibition dedicated to Bristish artist Ed Atkins, pursuing the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s mission of showcasing holdings from the Collection to an international audience through the “Hors-les-murs” programme. For Two Burlesques, Ed Atkins specifically revisits the display of two of his works that belong to the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Us Dead Talk Love, created in 2012, proposes a meditation on love and death in the form of an autobiographical confession between two severed heads, to the sound of the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Alongside, Even Pricks (2013) shares a series of reflections on depression in an immersive, labyrinthine, yet jubilatory experience.


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Ed Atkins, Even Pricks (2013). HD video, 8min. Courtesy of the artist and Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo credits: © Timo Ohler / Louis Vuitton
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Ed Atkins, Us Dead Talk Love (2012). Two-channel HD video, colour, sound, 34min 24. Courtesy of the artist and Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo credits: © Timo Ohler / Louis Vuitton
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Ed Atkins, Even Pricks (2013). HD video, 8min. Courtesy of the artist and Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo credits: © Timo Ohler / Louis Vuitton

The Espace Louis Vuitton München is pleased to present Two Burlesques, an exhibition dedicated to Bristish artist Ed Atkins, pursuing the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s mission of showcasing holdings from the Collection to an international audience through the “Hors-les-murs” programme. This programme unfolds at the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka.

Ed Atkins defines himself as a visual artist, a writer, a poet, a screenwriter and a musician. The use of digital images and their impact on our day-to-day experience are at the centre of his art. His video installations feature 3D characters, often alone in scenes, that are “both ridiculously alive and completely dead”. As the main character of his own videos, he gives performance a central role. His deconstruction of language draws from Jacques Derrida’s theory and Paul de Man’s 1977 lecture The Concept of Irony, and refers to the solitary face-to-face encounter of man and machine.

Atkins’s work mixes different elements – passages of Gothic horror literature, video sequences of analogue images paired with 3D, music – and calls upon the viewer’s memories, entailing a principle of involuntary recollection. It also exploits digital textures and plays on the conventions of representation, generating abrupt transitions close to special effects in contemporary films. While marked by Hollis Frampton and Michael Snow, the early videos of Vito Acconci (particularly Theme Song, 1973) and the poems of Gilbert Sorrentino (especially The Morning Roundup, 1971), it exudes a feeling of ubiquity, simultaneously mundane and bizarre, turning the characters into avatars. The artist himself says that writers, musicians (notably Graham Lambkin) and directors have more influence on his work than visual artists. Designed to free the subject from the tyranny of objectivity, rediscovering the meaning of human relationships and experience, the irony in his works is an attempt to re-establish a degree of spontaneity and a sense of reality against the flattening of feelings, human interaction and corporality caused by the digital world. Death – a recurring theme in his art – appears as a tragic experience, an artistic challenge and an essential philosophical subject, an allegory of digital image devoid of substance. But the apparent dirge in Atkins’s work actually conceals a message of hope and love.

For Two Burlesques, Ed Atkins specifically revisits the display of two of his works that belong to the Collection. Us Dead Talk Love, created in 2012, proposes a meditation on love and death in the form of an autobiographical confession between two severed heads, to the sound of the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Alongside, Even Pricks (2013) shares a series of reflections on depression in an immersive, labyrinthine, yet jubilatory experience.

Espace Louis Vuitton München
Maximilianstrasse 2a, 80539 München
T +49 89 55 89 38 100, info_espace.de@louisvuitton.com

Hours: Monday–Friday, noon–7 pm; Saturday, 10 am–7 pm
Free admission