Ed Atkins – The worm

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Via dei Vascellari, 69 00153 , Roma, Italia
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Thursday - Saturday
12 - 7 pm or by appointment


ore 18

Ed Atkins
arte contemporanea, personale

Mostra personale.

Comunicato stampa

In The worm, the English artist Ed Atkins presents a telephone call with his mother. She is heard but not seen, while Atkins is rendered, by way of performance-capture technology, as a digital avatar who listens attentively, mumbling agreement, sympathy, or surprise by turns, asking a question only when her narrative falters. Aurally close, the mother is spatially distant — The worm was made during lockdown — while the son is almost too present on the large screen – there are extreme closeups, odd angles, abrupt cuts, awkward gestures, and unconscious tics – even though we know it is not truly Atkins that we see. His double, a three-dimensional, off-the-shelf 3D model, is no double at all: the artist appears as a natty television host in a dark green suit with wire-rim glasses. The mum talks about her family — some about her insensitive father, more about her depressive mother — and how she took on the worries of the latter, especially about “lovability,” to little avail, mostly because such cares could not be expressed openly (depression was euphemized as “weekend letdown”). The theme of her reminiscences is the problem of emotional inheritance, in particular that of unhappiness, and we watch the avatar struggle to metabolize this misery despite the fact that he is not altogether human. “The way she talks about her mother, Nanny Bea, is how I could talk about my mother,” Atkins writes. “Thwarted artists, manic depressives, chronic dysmorphics through and through. All of which is hereditary poison.” This “empathy-mirroring” was arduous for both parties, a self-conscious performance, but it was “also love”.

From Hal Foster, Close Up: Your Loss –– On Ed Atkins’s The Worm, Artforum, October 2021, vol. 60, no. 2