David Blandy & Natalia Skobeeva | Oracles of Humankind

12 May 2016 to 23 May 2016 | 9.30am – 5.30pm

Battersea, Dyson Building and RCA Dyson Gallery

Private view 11 May, 6.30-8.30pm, featuring performance by Natalia Skobeeva at 7pm & 7.30pm

For the final show of the Rise Up & Envision Series at the RCA Dyson Gallery, A- - -Z presents Oracles of Humankind with three videos by Natalia Skobeeva and David Blandy.

About the Work

David Blandy, Hercules: Rough Cut, 2015, 11min16

Hercules invented hip hop. Named on the basketball courts of crumbling civilisation, street lights powered block parties, merry go rounds broke the beat back to back, hop from track to track, each transition a labour, fruit from the quest for the funkadelic and the apache, the bongo beating out the beat, unique configurations induced visions from the oracle, it began.

Hercules: Rough Cut, originally commissioned for Bloomberg SPACE, explores empire, civilisation, London and language. It refers to the Roman version of the Greek Heracles, a series of stories rife with internal contradictions and gathered from multiple sources that has inspired artists and writers through time.  Drawing on Bloomberg’s vast archive of global financial news footage, Blandy layers and amalgamates images of the agricultural, the economic, the cultural, the political and the industrial on four screens that revolve and turn next to a large-scale projection. His pulsing poetic rap narrates an alternative history of the City of London (and the world) informed by mythology, war, disease, injustice, technology and development.  He references the language, style and cadence of Roman declamations, Thomas More, Samuel Johnson, William Blake, 1950s Beat poets and contemporary street talk. 

Natalia Skobeeva, Lewis Carroll meets Godzilla, 2016, 3min44

By looking at the meeting point of Lewis Carroll and Godzilla, Skobeeva ventures into exploration of time and human condition.  While the google translate voice brings in a narrative, carefully constructed from quotes from  St Augustine, Hussels, Lewis Carroll, contemporary theatre productions, songs and conversations, the narration constantly reinvents itself and gradually changes the temporal extension of the viewer. Needs to be watched at least 50 times.

Natalia Skobeeva, The Horrors of Archiving, 2015, 11min33

The Horrors of Archiving engages with the life, works and legacy of one of the most important but nearly forgotten figures of Belgian cultural scene of mid 20th century.

Libera Carlier (1926 - 2007) was a Belgian  resistance fighter, sea captain, composer, book and screenplay writer, skier, world traveller and political activist. The twist is that the life story of such a prominent but nearly forgotten figure is brought back to public attention and told by a recent Russian emigrant/family member, from her memories, family stories, multiple encounters and friendship with Libera, and her personal experiences as a new Russian immigrant to Antwerp.

The project explores how political situation and shifting cultural identities alter the linear narrative process of historical events, biographies and autobiographies, not only by the way cultural references and historical occurrences and events are distributed but also how they are interpreted, remembered and further incorporated into one’s autobiographical construction. 

The project aims to expose the construction elements in creating narratives, cultural axioms and knowledge systems, and challenge the common liner-perspective narration by introducing landscape of multliple perspectives of posthumanity, combining and confusing facts, stories, references, time frames and points of view.

About the Artists

David Blandy has established his terrain through a series of investigations into the cultural forces that influence him, ranging from his love of hip hop and soul, to computer games and manga. His works slip between performance and video, reality and construct, using references sampled from the disparate sources that provide his sense of self. His film, Child of the Atom, draws on his family history and is perhaps the most intimate and direct piece of self examination, following directly from earlier works which sought to question how much of a Western sense of identity can be constructed from diverse popular sources.

Recent projects include solo shows at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany; Bloomberg Space, London; Crossroads, a solo exhibition at Spike Island, Bristol that toured to Turner Contemporary, Margate, and 176 Project Space, London and a solo show at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.

Blandy is represented by Seventeen Gallery.

Natalia Skobeeva is a Russian  born /London-Belgium based artist whose works organically cross the borders of all media carrying the characteristics attributed to transnational art: multiplicity, liminality and hybridity.

Recent and upcoming exhibitions include  Bristol Biennale 2016, 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary art, 15th WRO Media Art Biennale, Miden 2013 Festival of Video art, Now&After Video art festival among others. Solo shows include ‘Horrors of Archiving’ in Objectief Exhibitions, ‘Carpets in St Petersburg, former Leningrad, former St Petersburg’ in the State Museum of Political History of Russia in St Petersburg, Camera Club London and Viewfinder gallery London, solo projects  in Moscow, Istanbul, Berlin and London.


Follow the RCA Dyson Gallery: