Keith Piper: Unearthing the Banker's Bones
1 April 2017 -
11 June 2017
Main & Mezz Galleries
Launch event: 31 March 2017, 6pm - 9pm
New Art Exchange is pleased to welcome Keith Piper back to Nottingham with a showing of the touring exhibition, Unearthing The Banker's Bones, the most substantial presentation of Piper's work in nearly two decades. Graduating from Nottingham Trent University (then Trent Polytechnic) in 1983, Piper spent his university years living here in NAE's local neighbourhood of Hyson Green. During this period, along with artists Eddie Chambers, Marlene Smith and Donald Rodney, Piper co-founded the groundbreaking BLK Art Group, a collective who fought to raise the profile of black artists.
Unearthing The Banker's Bones comprises new and existing digital installation and painting works, and addresses the impact of globalisation. Collectively the selected artworks continue to explore the socio-political questions that have defined Piper's practice since his time with the BLK Art Group.
Lending its title to the exhibition, the centrepiece of the show is a synchronised high definition three-screen film installation which depicts a narrative of economic and social collapse. Unearthing the Banker's Bones (2016) weaves together references from a range of classic novels, films and texts, including apocalyptic works by Octavia Butler and Mary Shelley. The piece employs a science fiction device which invites viewers to imagine the excavation and dissection of modern life from a future point in time.
Other highlights in the show include a restaging of Robot Bodies, Piper's 2001 seminal interactive digital work in which the robot, android and cyborg are examined as metaphorical carriers of contemporary anxieties around racial difference. Located in our Mezzanine Gallery, visitors are invited to step into the installation and interrogate three constantly morphing bodies by way of a trackball interface; clicking through layers of information and revealing fragments from key science fiction films and texts.
Also on show are two new series: Four Cartoons, a selection of roughly-finished paintings on unstretched canvas which reference History Painting, a genre equivalent to the epic or tragedy in literature that depicts dramatic moments in recent history; and Pulp Fictions (a bibliography), a selection of digital prints mimicking the covers of old science fiction novels.
This touring exhibition has been produced and organised by Bluecoat and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts). It features a major new Arts Council Collection 70th anniversary commission.
A new limited edition print is available. See Iniva's website.
Image credit: Keith Piper, Unearthing the Banker's Bones, 2016, film still. A 70th anniversary commission for the Arts Council with Bluecoat and Iniva. © the artist.