The Infinite Mix: Contemporary Sound and Image brings together recent audiovisual artworks that combine sounds and images in ways that that are at once conceptually and emotionally immersive. Soulful and audacious in their exploration of wide-ranging subjects, these works use the medium of film and video to explore the poetics as well as the politics of music, performance and cultural history.
Stylistic composites, the works in The Infinite Mix draw on diverse genres including documentary film, music video, theatrical performance and experimental cinema. Whether recording eccentric dance moves in suburban Alabama, offering a prismatic portrait of life in Compton, California, revisiting an astronaut’s reflections on gravity, or zeroing in on the everyday choreography of crossing a street, these works dispense with straightforward storytelling in favour of a non-linear approach more akin to musical composition. Many of the works also play with cinematic conventions in unexpected ways. In documenting an impossibly endless (and endlessly inventive) jam session or evoking the ghostly apparition of a late opera singer, they pointedly remix our notions of history and fiction, the real and the staged, the everyday and the sublime.
Spanning a variety of formats—from immersive 3D video to holographic illusions and multi-screen installations—the works in The Infinite Mix also challenge the ways that we think about visual experience. Several installations in the exhibition feature images that seem to have a physical character or that activate the space around them in a fashion that we usually associate with sculpture. Others use sound to enhance and modify our spatial perception and alter our response to the accompanying image tracks. Both types of work disturb our customary sense of dimensionality—including that of the psychological spaces that images and sounds generate within us—in ways that are both unsettling and seductive.
For each of the works in this exhibition, what you hear is just as important as what you see. While some of the works feature original scores composed or commissioned by the artists, others make use of existing tracks and outtakes—often radically remixed—by a diverse range of performers including Sonic Youth, opera singer Maria Callas and rapper Kendrick Lamar.
In orchestrating a dynamic and transformative interplay between sounds and pictures, the works in The Infinite Mix frequently split our focus between competing streams of information on audio and visual tracks. In this way they open up and extend our involvement as spectators, prompting us to make choices about where we direct our attention and how we filter—or remix—our experience of the work. In elaborating this aesthetic of infinite mixes, they underscore art’s potentially inexhaustible openness, and its ability to continue to trace new lines of connection, affiliation and association.
Featuring: Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller & Cecilia Bengolea, Stan Douglas, Cyprien Gaillard, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Cameron Jamie, Kahlil Joseph, Elizabeth Price, Ugo Rondinone and Rachel Rose.
Curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery. Project Curator: Eimear Martin, Hayward Gallery
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue. In addition to an introductory essay by Ralph Rugoff, this catalogue includes in-depth discussions of the individual works by a range of authors—including JJ Charlesworth, Lilly Lampe, David Norr and Michael Vass—and interviews with several of the artists. Pre-order a copy here.
The Infinite Mix is the Hayward Gallery’s first-ever major off-site exhibition. It is presented in association with The Vinyl Factory at the new creative space The Store, 180 The Strand.
*(1) Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, OPERA (QM.15), 2016. © DACS 2016. Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. (2) Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Bengolea, Bom Bom’s Dream, 2016. © and courtesy the artists. (3) Ugo Rondinone, THANX 4 NOTHING, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber. © Ugo Rondinone. (4) Rachel Rose, Everything and More (still), 2015. Film. Courtesy of the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London, and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York. © Rachel Rose. (5) Kahlil Joseph, m.a.a.d (still), 2014. Film. Courtesy of the artist and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. (6) Stan Douglas, Luanda-Kinshasa, 2013. © Stan Douglas. Courtesy of the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London, and Victoria Miro London.