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15 Mar 2014 to 3 May 2014
Gallery hours
6 Minerva Street
E2 9EH
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 20 7729 9888
F: +44 (0) 20 7729 9898

15 Marts – 12 April

Artists in this exhibition: Alan Michael, Charles Atlas


15 March - 3 May
Private view 14 March 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Vilma Gold are delighted to present Alan Michael’s first solo exhibition in the gallery.

Misery loves A Company that Makes Everything.

They say that in business, the term “boiler room” refers to an outbound call centre selling questionable investments by telephone. The term carries a negative connotation, and is often used to imply high-pressure sales tactics and poor working conditions. Or it’s also a global club franchise.

For this exhibition – “P.A.” – Alan Michael, himself a former call centreworker, shows a sequence of six paintings which follow patterns deployed in previous recent exhibitions such as “Calvinistic Girls” (HIGH ART, Paris) and “The Manual xx” (OHIO, Glasgow).

While his practice has sometimes alluded to the work of other artists, it more often replays / repeats general types and formats of photo-based painting as if appearing to be in conversation with those formats but which, in reality, is more accurately about the construction of appearances.

Divided between paintings of men sitting in Omonia Square, Athens and repeated diffuse details of a fabricated mood board, any depicted reference material – cultural, sub-cultural, mainstream or marginal – is irrelevant and provides no code or key to accessing the artworks. The material is there to represent the process of generating ideas and the methods of acquiring information: negative feedback from overheard conversations about artworks. The acronymic title of the show is intended to suggest compression and provides the system to title the works.

Alan Michael was born in Glasgow (1967) and lives and works in London. Michael has had solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, as part of Art Now, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh and Schürmann, Berlin each in 2008, with recent solo exhibitions at OHIO, Glasgow (2013) and High Art, Paris (2014). He has, this year released a publication, ‘Unlawful Assembly’, with Lucy Mckenzie, published by Koenig books and launched at Maggs Bros. London, following their exhbition ‘Note to Self’ at Artists Institute, New York (2013). Michael’s work has been included in a number of group shows wordwide, most recently at Fiorucci Art Trust, Stomboli (2013), Circa Projects, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (2013), Cubitt, London (2013) and Fremantle Arts Centre, Australia (2012), as well as ReMap 4 in Athens (2013). Previous notable group shows have been at CAPC, Bordeaux (2010), Dundee Contemporary Arts (2009 and 2001), The Drawing Room, London (2009), Tate Triennial 2006 at Tate Britain and Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (solo 2000) among many others.

Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha

15 March – 3 May
Private view 14 March 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Starting out in early 70s New York, Charles Atlas was part of the first generation of artists to explore the artistic possibilities of video. He pioneered the development of ‘media-dance’, – a performance work created directly for the camera – and has been making ground-breaking experimental video and immersive installation both independently and in collaboration with seminal choreographers and performers including Merce Cunningham, Michael Clark, Yvonn Rainer and Leigh Bowery, ever since.

Vilma Gold are proud to present Atlas’ 5-Channel video installation Martha, Martha, Marth, Martha, Martha, 2000, (5 channel synchronized video, with sound) and a new wall piece comprising twenty-four photographic prints: Gotta Dance no. 11, 2013, (photographic print on dibond, 24 parts, overall dimensions: 193 x 270 cm, 76 x 106 1/4 ins.)

Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, 2000 is made up of a group of five televisions arranged in an arc. Each television sets a different scene, with different versions of ‘Martha’ playing out across the channels. She is espoused via synchronised film clips in which protagonists call out to her, or through footage of the modern dancer Martha Graham herself. But she also appears to come in the form of heroines in B movies or as burlesque dancers, soft porn actresses or figure skaters. And the letters of MARTHA are periodically spelled out across the screens.

The work is borne directly of Atlas’ involvement with the New York dance and club scene. During the mid 90s the performance artist and choreographer Richard Move, in his satirical impersonation of Martha Graham, hosted a live monthly program in a New York club called ‘Martha @ Mother’. Atlas would provide the visuals in the form of video installation, making funny and theatrical montages of various clips that would play to the audience before each show. These included footage of Martha Graham of course, but also figures such as Merce Cunningham, Leigh Bowery or segments from his critically acclaimed two and -a half hour broadcast event on prime time Dutch TV with the work Television Dance Atlas (1993). In 2000, once the club had wound down, Atlas took the tapes and created a large-scale installation, of which this is a new version. With dance manifesting here in guises ranging from the irreverent and theatrical to the serious and minimal or even the domestic and banal, the film gives a charming and unique insight into Atlas’ wide-ranging understandings of what dance can be.

Another type of montage, or to be more specific, collage, the work Gotta Dance no.11, brings the letters spelling out Martha’s name back into the picture. Here its individual units demarcate a line through the centre of a series of still photographs from Atlas’ work with dancers and choreographers over the years. Like the television channels of the video installation, each row of the grid-like arrangement works as a separate thread, a separate piece, within the whole. From top to bottom, or from row M – A the photographs feature:

Michael Clark in Hail the New Puritan (1985-86), Merce Cunningham in Blue Studio: Five Segments (1975- 76), Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Ocean (2011), Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Views on Video (2005), Douglas Dunn in Nevada (1974), Karole Armitage and Dancers in Parafango (1984)

In terms of influence Martha Graham is often compared to other huge Modernist figures such as Picasso, Stravinsky or Frank-Lloyd Wright. It seems that across the two works presented here, her name might become ironic byword for dance as a whole. Looping right back to Atlas’ days in the club, it might even be said that she becomes a kind of ‘mother’ figure – and one that is sure to be gently teased by the younger generation. Her name is broken down into its individual units after all, split into separate channels, with each ‘offspring’ setting out its own version of dance. As ‘mother’ of modernism is broken up into myriad different modes, each with a life.

For further information or images please contact Martin Rasmussen: +44 (0)20 7729 9888 or:

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