Tornado Warning

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Tornado Warning © courtesy of the Artist and Vilma Gold
Tornado Warning

6 Minerva Street
London E2 9EH
United Kingdom
November 14th, 2008 - December 7th, 2008
Opening: November 13th, 2008 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

+44 (0)20 7729 9888
Wed-Sun 10-6 and by appointment


Vilma Gold is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by American artist Charles Atlas.

‘Tornado Warning’ will be a new five-channel video work installed throughout the gallery space that will explore the juxtaposition between chaos and order arising from Atlas’ early memories of tornado warnings in his childhood town of St Louis, Missouri. Creating two rooms that contrast in appearance, form, content and atmosphere Atlas draws upon his past use of montage in film to create a large scale installation that delves into the powers of perception, triggering memory and submerging the viewer in his dream like world. ‘Plato’s Alley’, a single channel video work, is installed within one area of the gallery, creating a formal space inhabited by numbers and grids. The space evokes Atlas’ childhood dreams of order, inevitability and impossible precision. ‘Institute for Turbulence Research’, installed in the second space, is comprised of omnidirectional projections displaying four channels of video images - a combination of found images cut from old films and news footage, shots of ordinary objects flying around an empty room, swirling abstractions, distorted dancing bodies, radio waves, and current images from the internet. Seemingly in motion the space appears unruly, alarming, violent and relentless.

Charles Atlas is an artist and filmmaker who has worked primarily in film and video since the mid-1970s. His pioneering media/dance works, multi-channel video installations, feature-length documentaries and video art works for television have often taken dance and perfomance as their point of departure. Initiating his artistic practice within the orbit of Merce Cunningham, John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, Atlas has developed a highly personalized approach to collaboration that transforms the performance documentary genre into a provocative, strongly ironic interaction between narrative and fictional modes. Since 2003 he has been increasingly devoted to real-time video, sometimes as stand-alone, on-stage or live electronic improvisations. With this new body of work Atlas uses his experience with the spontaneity of live video and his abiding interest in precision of form to create visually arresting and challenging new environments.

Charles Atlas was born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA and lives and works in New York City. He had a survey of his film and video work at Tate Modern, London in 2006 and has also had several solo presentations including Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston (2005), Magazin 4, Bregenz (2000) and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1997). His 2002 film, ‘The Legend of Leigh Bowery’, a documentary feature about the London-based performance artist and art/fashion icon and his multi-channel video installation “Dizzy Remix” are currently showing as part of the ‘Leigh Bowery: Beautified Provocation’ exhibition at the Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover.