Cécile B. Evans, Amos’ World: Episode Three, 2018 (video still). Courtesy l’artista.

Cécile B. Evans

Amos’ World: Episode Three

20.01 — 01.03.2019

The Madre Museum presents the italian preview of the last episode of the Amos’ World trilogy by the Belgian-American artist Cécile B. Evans.
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Amos’ World: Episode Three, film conceived by the artist as a fictional TV series, will be presented at the Madre Museum in the exhibition dicated to Cécile B. Evans (Cleveland, 1983), curated by  Cloé Perrone, in a setting that includes a series of sculptureous seats.

In her research, Evans observes the governance and rebellion of human emotions, in particular as they come into contact with technological and physical structures that seek to rationalize or streamline them. Her works, articulated between different media such as video, sculpture, performance and installations, studie the dissonance between realities as they are imagined and felt by reinterpreting elements of network theories and entropy. Often using fictional characters that manifest in different materialities and forms, the artist examines the value that contemporary society attributes to the emotions and conditions of the digital, material contexts that constitute the reality in which we are immersed.

The third episode of Amos’ World trilogy, filmed also in the Vele complex in Scampia, Naples, is premiered at the Madre Museum thanks to the support of Nicoletta Fiorucci, founder of  Fiorucci Art Trust. As part of the artist’s research, the Madre Museum presented in the summer 2018 a workshop – conceived as the methodological premise of this exhibition – with a group of children (ages 4-12) residing in the Vele, produced by the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee within the Madre per il Sociale platform. The workshop did not focus on the architectures or the actual fate of these housing units, but on the matrix of allegories they provide in the way of coexistence and connection and on the possibility of their reconstruction, not in the literal or architectural sense, but rather the social and emotional.

The Amos’ World trilogy is conceived by the artist as a fictional TV series set in a socially progressive housing estate,  influenced by the brutalist projects that stemmed from le Corbusier’s idea of a “city within a building”: a perfect individual-communal living structure for the capitalist age. These projects (several of which can be found as locations within the trilogy), almost always failed in their ambitions and ability to align with the realities, necessities and whishes of the individuals living there or perhaps even society as a whole.

In Amos’ World, we meet Amos, the architect of this networked building, and the tenants who inhabit it. Amos represents the archetype of the Western white man, a “troubled genius” who exudes an arrogance that contradicts his true tortuous, unrealistic and somewhat pathetic nature: confusing his intellectual ambitions with their real social impact. The tenants, who have grown increasingly alienated from the building’s (and its architect’s) promises, embark on the difficult task of negotiating both their own and each other’s shifting realities as dramatic events occupy the building. Multiple plot and timelines, that culminate in a cataclysmic event referred to by the characters as “The Turn”.

Amos’ World: Episode Three is set in the immediate time after “The Turn”. The format has changed from previous episodes, the characters’ world is now represented as fragmented set pieces and filmed on a stage set in front of a live (but unseen) audience. Amos now faces a new emotion, humiliation. His world has truly been broken, though not completely destroyed, which creates the unprecedented conditions for a solution to be found.

Taken together, all the works that make up the Amos’ World trilogy (in which the individual videos are inserted or juxtaposed to architectural components inspired by the video images) become an allegory of human relations at the time of digital communication and networks. The dynamics of individual power are redefined and deconstructed through the pervasive influence exerted by the technological infrastructures that govern them. Displayed on its own, the third episode ambitiously focuses on two of the most uncertain themes in the series: the relinquishing of power and how it can be redistributed, even in the absence of consensus within an unfixed reality. As a character called the Time Traveller observes, after the architect has ceded what power he has left: “It expands, we don’t recognise it anymore. The mess is strong. It is beautiful. Even when things are bad there is the possibility that things will get better. Everyone deserves that.”

At the Madre Museum, the installation is presented as an open space, consisting of a video projection and ten sculptural cubes, titled Erratics, where the visitors can sit, one at a time but together, suggesting the simultaneous presence of both a collective and an individual vision. The Erratics are a further articulation of fragments in constant motion, as an ink resembling the Mother bacteria from the second episode of the trilogy curls and undulates within sections of clear resin, housed in concrete that appears softened by time, migration, and use.

The Amos’ World trilogy was co-produced by: Emanuel Layr Galerie, Vienna and Rome; mumok, Vienna; Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach; Tramway, Glasgow, where an installation of the three episodes premiered. Additional support was provided by Art Night, London; de Young Museum, San Francisco; FRAC Lorraine, Metz; Villa Merkel, Esslingen; along with the support of the Madre Museum and Nicoletta Fiorucci, Founder of the Fiorucci Art Trust. A retrospective monographic volume dedicated to the artist will be published by the four institutions in 2019 and presented at the Madre Museum within the educational platform MADREscenza Seasonal School.

Cécile B. Evans 

Numerous solo exhibitions have been dedicated to Cécile B. Evans by important international museums, including Amos’ World, Tramway, Glasgow, 2018; Amos’ World: Episode One, mumok, Wien, 2018; Art Basel Statements, Basel (with Galerie Emanuel Layr), 2017; Sprung A Leak, Museum M, Leuven, 2017; Amos’ World: Episode One, Castello di Rivoli-Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino, 2017; Sprung to Leak, Tate Liverpool, 2016; What the Heart Wants, Kunsthal Aarhus, 2016. Among the collective exhibitions and periodical reviews, upcoming or recent: Is This Tomorrow?, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2019; Cellular World: Cyborg-Human-Avatar-Horror, GoMA-Glasgow International, 2018; Blind Faith, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2018; Unthought Environments, Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2018; Common Front, Affectively, Nam June Paik Center, Seoul, 2018; Hello World, Mito Art Center, Myth, 2018; Still Human, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, 2017; After Us, K11, Shanghai, 2017; 7th International Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2017; How Happy at Thing Can Be, Whitney Museum, New York, 2017; 9th Berlin Biennale, 2016. Evans received the following awards: Schering Stiftung (2016), illy’s Present Future Prize (2016), Andaz Art Award (2015), Palais de Tokyo’s Push Your Art Prize (2013) and Frieze Award (formerly Emdash, 2012).