The Poetics of Geographical Extremes
Simon Faithfull regards the world as an object. He consciously explores its boarders, questions existing natural laws, trying to overcome them and integrate them in his works. He has repeatedly sought out the extreme conditions of this world to push himself and his art to the limits. While he was on a two-month journey to Antarctica, he sent back digital sketches every day on his Palm Pilot, and shot a film entitled “44” recording his journey to this desolate region. But for Faithfull, the way is always the goal as in his video “0°00 Navigation”. In this work, Faithfull set out equipped only with a compass to walk, climb, wade and swim his way across Britain, keeping strictly to the Greenwich Meridian no matter what obstacles he met, whether houses, fences or rivers. In his conceptual art, he critically engages with all the media of the visual arts, questioning them and integrating them in his own very individual way into his works.
For Rohkunstbau, Simon Faithfull is presenting a new video work. A person is slowly moving on the floor of the sea. He or she struggles to move forwards, taking large steps. The underwater soundtrack of the video is transmitted live from the Schlänitzsee lake to two large speakers set up in the tower room in Schloss Marquardt. This work is inspired by the dwarf Alberich who, after his love was spurned, stole the Rhinegold to make the magic ring giving him the power to subjugate the people of the Nibelung. Here, though, the artist himself takes over the position of the seeker after the power. For the beholder, his objective remains hidden and can only be followed as a constant forward movement in the depths of the sea.
„Going Nowhere 2“ fits into Simon Faithfull’s oeuvre like a missing link. After directing the beholder’s gaze to our planet from the edge of the earth’s atmosphere in “Escape Vehicle no.6” and redefining the concept of ‘distance’ in his long journey to the South Pole, he now turns to the uninhabitable sea bed as an undeveloped territory waiting to be explored.
Of these three extreme geographical locations, the sea floor may well be the least accessible to humankind since it turns upside down nearly all the conditions we require for life – breathing, gravity, movement, sight and sound. Nothing is the way it is on earth, and for a simple expedition designed to last longer than a minute, we require any amount of auxiliary equipment. Yet none of that is evident in “Going Nowhere 2“, neither oxygen bottles nor diving suits. Instead, someone is simply walking along the bottom of the lake as though it was quite normal.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2011 Going Nowhere, Simon Faithfull, Parker’s Box, New York, USA
2010 Simon Faithfull: Recent Findings, Harris Museum, Preston, UK
2009 Gravity Sucks, British Film Institute, London, UK
2008 Simon Faithfull – Video Works, Polaris, Paris, France
Selected Group Exhibitions
2010 Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, USA
2010 Unwetter, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
2009 Simon Faithfull & Carla Guagliardi – Schwerelos, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Germany
2008 no. it is opposition, Art Gallery of New York University, Canada
2007 New Forest Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennale, Italy