Week 38/50 at fig-2, Institute of Contemporary Art, London
Wright & Vandame transformed the fig-2 premises into an active gym with classes led by personal trainers, yoga teachers and specially invited artists. Yoga, Voga, Zumba, circuits, dance aerobics and artist-led workouts were be among the gym classes throughout the week.
The gym emerged over the last century as a modern environment for fitness, health and well-being. Artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Bob Mizer, presented hyper-masculine musclemen in advertising and high fashion photography, referencing the classical male nude and idealised forms of beauty in ancient art. In this context, issues of gender, sexuality and body image emerged in the construction of the gym and the evolution of the gym in modern history has profoundly affected our current attitudes towards beauty, identity, and the authenticity of images.
Many of the artworks in the exhibition act as minimalist riffs on Modern Art, repurposing materials found in the gym and include sculptures, performances, videos and use of the space as an immersive, environmental installation. Investigating the possibilities of converting an exhibition space into a gym and how this context may inform or affect our understanding of modern aesthetics and everyday life, the gym thus becomes a platform for wider social, political and economic issues. Through these playful works of art and the multi-layered programme of events, Wright & Vandame hope to make art more engaging, participatory, resourceful, and most importantly, accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. Inviting artists to respond to the popular language and practice generated by gym culture, Wright & Vandame question our contemporary body image aesthetics and provoke conflating masculine and feminine archetypes and forms.
Challenging traditional definitions of performance art and exercise, Turner Prize-nominated artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd will lead an ‘Insanity Workout’, cutting-edge multimedia British-Egyptian artist Adham Faramawy will lead a ‘Post-Rave Sweat Fatigue Workout’, and British-Nigerian multi-disciplinary artist Karimah Ashadu will lead ‘An Everlasting Yoga’ class. Other classes taking place over the course of the week include a curatorial workshop, sunset meditation, and various forms of yoga and pilates.
21st - 27th September 2015
With thanks to:
Choreographer: Sarah Louise Kristiansen
Exercise Trainers: Nicolette Wilson, Dalia Pozarauskaite, Marta Swiezynska, Toma Janulyte, Juliet Murrell, Celia Peachey, Angela Goodfellow and Chloe Wilkinson.
Artists: Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Adham Faramawy, Karimah Ashadu and Francesca Steele.
With additional support from: Ethel MacPepple-Jaja, Oliver Hipwell, Alexander Grzegorz Gromadzki, Sylvain Deleu and the team at fig-2.