My reworking of the exhibition’s poster with screengrabs of some of the artists from the guided walkaround
AndroTechne present their debut digital exhibition this autumn in a three dimensional online virtual space of three connected rooms, each having a different theme and feel. The advanced technology creating the virtual exhibition space makes it possible to “walk” around the exhibition, stop and browse where you feel you wish to. Meanwhile some exhibits animate and some play music. This gives quite the best integrated feel to media such as video or abstract virtual images along with traditional paint and flat images. There’s immediately a “wow!” factor, the technology is not off-puttingly clunky and it presents well this exhibition which is very rich in ideas and innovation.
The name of the collective - AndroTechne - shows its origins as a life drawing circle but which has developed considerably in recent years to embrace techno. The opportunity presented by the lockdown, consequently making it impossible to meet and work together in their usual London studio space, has forced the collective to work together online. This has integrated the artists who have been able to participate far more fully than hitherto, giving the exhibition a wider scope but closer focus than previous exhibitions. This is helped by choosing a strong theme based on an oil painting of 1818–19 by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault. His work, entitled The Raft of the Medusa (Scène de Naufrage) portrays the raft carrying the survivors of the shipwreck of the French frigate Méduse.
The Medusa legend has clearly inspired the artists of AndroTechne both in the metaphor for this pandemic and with some of the wider issues of human survival, questions of who is safe to be with and where is a safe place to seek shelter. There are some gruesome images of the physical realities of decaying bodies from Jonathan Armour, some wonderfully abstracted pen and ink works from Richard Dickson, one or two that ask questions about the erotic aspect of bodies intertwined for warmth and mutual survival (Mark Ho), several about water and drowning - who among us hasn’t experienced dreams about drowning during this pandemic? Alto.artist has reworked some classical images to highlight some social and political questions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
There’s a humorous side too, Brian Dennis’ memorable images of an Idiot with tomatoes. These are in Room 3, with brilliant white walls, that you find last on the tour. This room is showing pieces aiming for hope and reassurance. There’s a quote from Martin Luther stencilled on the wall: “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope”. Here we see Sakib Khan’s digital abstract forms that are beautiful. Susie Breen’s video of quotes or single words presented like social media texts that soothe without thinking, like a familiar lullaby.
I’ve made a graphic from the curator-guided walkthrough of the exhibition and the exhibition’s poster but the artworks not the artists’ faces are the real interest in walking round this 3D gallery.
Online very definitely is not the same as being face-to-face with an artwork, the physical artefact which the artist’s hands have worked. But these works would not exist without the online collaboration and the collective Androtechne might itself have withered. Instead, we have a vibrant selection of new works, presented in a novel way with the possibility of at least as large an audience as an opening night in the sort of London gallery which AndroTechne have exhibited previously. Sculpture doesn’t work, at least not with the current technology, but video integrates really well. No dodgy dark room behind a black curtain. I think there’s a challenge remaining about selling and there’s a different challenge about visibility and maybe attending the online event is not as creatively stimulating or as useful a networking opportunity as a traditional exhibition preview.
Generously, the visit to the online gallery is free; it is open all hours and you are not required to wear a face covering!
Here is the link to the online exhibition https://www.androtechne.com/
AndroTechne present their debut digital show: Raft, Between The Waves
10th November 2020- 1st December 2020
RAFT, Between The Waves, is an online exhibition that brings together the work of twelve artists from the UK, Europe and the USA, and highlights their unique responses to Géricault’s 1818 masterpiece from a 2020 perspective.