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3 February – 28 March 2004

Open 10am – 6pm daily. Admission free.

Sponsored by HUGO BOSS

State of Play presents the work of international artists who play with ideas, materials and situations. At a time when art can no longer be defined through a single dominant movement or school of thought, the exhibition identifies a number of artists who share an attitude of irreverence and wit, and a lightness of touch increasingly visible in contemporary art making today.

The artists included typify this attitude in a number of different ways. Their work ranges from the humorous to the ironic, from the poetic to the absurd, and from the light-hearted to the dark. Working in a variety of media, they create imagery and scenarios that have in common a sense of informality and an air of spontaneity.

Whether they embrace an economy of means and use everyday or discarded materials, play off the architecture of the gallery or devise situations that are deliberately self-mocking, they create playful and provocative statements about contemporary art and the world at large.

All of the works included in State of Play were selected in close collaboration with the artists and many were created especially for this exhibition. State of Play is curated by the Serpentine's Chief Curator, Rochelle Steiner.

Artists in the exhibition include Italian-born artist-provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, much of whose work functions as spectacle, challenging the conventions of the art institution; British Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, whose self-effacing approach results in deceptively simple yet highly subversive works of art; and New York artist Tony Feher who, with common materials such as coloured tape, string and filled or partially filled water bottles, creates restrained yet playful interventions inside and outside the gallery space.

The mundane and often absurd scenarios in the videos of German-born Christian Jankowski are infused with a sense of irony and deliberate self-mocking. Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri brings out the poetic potential in everyday objects and materials to reflect on consumer behaviour and the function of art within capitalist society.

German artist Bjørn Melhus samples popular culture sources including daytime
television, telemarketing, popular film and music, and televangelism, moulding himself into all the characters that inhabit these contrived realities. Polish-born, New York-based artist Aleksandra Mir works at the crossroads between performance, conceptual art and political action resulting in an art that always directly involves the artist, and is tinged with the tragic-comic. British duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster create installations that explore the status of the artist within consumer culture, using light projections to turn discarded materials into arresting self-portraits.

Combining elements of performance art, poetry, music and sculpture, the video
installations of Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist envelop the viewer in a total environment that is sometimes mesmerizing and intriguing, sometimes arch and witty. Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley makes deliberately faux naïve drawings and sculptures that focus on the absurdity of everyday life. German artist Andreas Slominski infuses everyday materials with sly humour to create cunning works of art that require closer examination to unveil their hidden meaning. Sarah Sze creates elaborate systems and whimsical arrangements that reflect on complex relationships and networks within contemporary life.

Also supported by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Goethe-Institut.

Sponsor information:

Hugo Boss’ partnership with the art world began over eight years ago. They have organised numerous notable exhibitions worldwide and in conjunction with the Guggenheim Foundation, established the Hugo Boss Prize, which has evolved into an internationally renowned contemporary art award. Both Maurizio Cattelan and Pipilotti Rist, whose work is included in State of Play, have in the past been short-listed for the Prize.


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