July 13, 2009 - BFI Southbank - Simon Faithfull
July 13, 2009

Simon Faithfull

Simon Faithfull
Escape Vehicle no.6, 2006

Simon Faithfull
Gravity Sucks

17 July – 20 September 2009

Belvedere Road,
London SE1


Gravity Sucks brings together for the first time the complete series of Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicles, seven quixotic artworks that utilise an assortment of balloons, insects and rockets to offer the viewer the idea of freeing themselves from the constraints of gravity.

Faithfull’s works can be seen as an ongoing investigation into the incomprehensible scale of the earth as an object. The Escape Vehicles employ video cameras, transmission systems and drawing devices as measuring tools to define size, time and distance, and the experiments often involve travel either by the artist himself or by cameras sent out as surrogate, dispassionate eyes.

The early Escape Vehicles are heroic failures – rocket chairs explode, flies fail to buzz and generally things stay on the ground. Alarmingly, as the series progresses the experiments begin to succeed, until Escape Vehicle no.6 follows the journey made by a domestic chair as it travels into the upper atmosphere.

Dangling from an unseen weather balloon, the chair rushes away from the fields and roads of southern England and ascends through clouds until finally, seen against the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space, it starts to disintegrate. Although precariously successful in itself, the piece is imbued with melancholic failure for the artist asks us to imagine what it would be like to occupy the empty seat and travel to an uninhabitable realm where the temperature falls to -60º Celsius and breathing is impossible.

Talks and Screenings:
Gravity Sucks: An Expanded Lecture by Simon Faithfull
Man’s tragic longing to escape from the pull of gravity is explored by the artist in this multi-screen performance lecture.

Sun 19 July 16:00 NFT2

The Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday (and Bank Holiday Mondays) from 11:00 – 20:00

This e-flux is supported by the ArtSway Associates scheme. Simon Faithfull is an ArtSway Associate.

Complementing ArtSway’s exhibition residency and commissioning programme, ArtSway Associates aims to provide legacy support for a selection of artists who have previously undertaken residencies at ArtSway. ArtSway Associates is ArtSway’s continuing professional development programme for ten artists who have previously undertaken an ArtSway residency. The programme offers critical support, advocacy, training and seed funding for creative activity over three years. ArtSway Associates is financially supported by the Leverhulme Trust and Arts Council England.

BFI Southbank
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