29 Jan - 16 March 2003
Institute of Contemporary Art, ICA Galleries, The Mall, London - UK
Whenever artists seek to engage in the political realm, they are
often mired in so much half-ingested critical theory, that you
wonder whether they slept through all the difficult bits at art
Here, we have three European artists trying to get a handle on notions relating to foreignness, immigration, global movements, and a whole heap else besides. And what may have been an opportunity to engage in something more worthwhile than art student posturing ends up being vague, half-baked and irritatingly whimsical.
As part of her proposal to build a replica within a short distance of the original, Aleksandra Mir shows a model of Stonehenge overrun by people. Her aim is to prevent further erosion of the prehistoric stones—apparently unaware that it is already a protected site. Mir had originally submitted the idea to Artangel and to RCA curating students—who both—predictably rejected it. Perhaps she should approach Disney and move the proposed site to the Nevada desert.
Next Mir, Jens Haaning and Matthieu Laurette offer just a glimmer of promise. Haaning has taken photographs of young immigrants, and itemized their clothing as if they were style shoots, while Laurette has asked the director of the Venice Biennale to write to dozens of countries on his behalf requesting citizenship. The cool idea is that he can then represent them at the next Biennale but as many of these small Islamic nations suffer from a dearth of skilled workers, any benefits to them might be questionable.
I presume they'll put it down to just one more shameless instance of Western decadence.