07.06.2018 - 07.06.2018
A talk by Simon Starling at NICC Brussels.
SIMON STARLING was born in 1967 in Epsom, UK. In 1977 he bought one second of one minute of one hour in a raffle and won his first camera. In 1980 he built his first home-darkroom and in 1992 was awarded a Master of Fine Arts at Glasgow School of Art. Between 1993 and 1996 he served as a committee member at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow and made his living photographing exhibitions in Scottish Museums and Galleries. In 1995 he made his first solo exhibition at the Showroom Gallery, London for which he reconstructed part of the London exhibition space in Glasgow to use as a studio [An Eichbaum Pils Beer Can…]. In 1997 he built a small fishing boat in Marseille from a museum display case from the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh [Blue Boat Black] and made a chair out of a bicycle and a bicycle out of a chair [Work, Made-ready, Kunsthalle Bern]. In 1998, following a trip to Ecuador to find a balsa tree, he flew a radio-controlled airplane over the Museum of Modern Art at Heidi, Melbourne [Le Jardin Suspendu]. In August 2002 he dug up a large Cereus cactus on the set of the ‘Texas Hollywood Film Studio’ and transported it 2,145 km to Frankfurt am Main, Germany in a red Volvo 240 Estate [Kakteenhaus]. In 2003 he displayed an unwanted public artwork in the Palazzo Levi on the Grand Canal as part of Zenomap, Scotland’s contribution to the Venice Biennale [Island for Weeds, Prototype] and started work as Professor of Fine Arts at the Staedelschule, Frankfurt. In 2004 he was shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize and in the following year won the Turner Prize. In 2008 he made exhibitions in among other places, a derelict bathhouse in Glasgow, Scotland [Project for a Public Sculpture (After Thomas Annan)], a semi-derelict factory in Dornbirn, Austria [Plant Room] and a fantastically narrow, seven story house in Turin, Italy known as the ‘Fetta di Polenta’ (Slice of Polenta)[Three Birds, Seven Stories, Interpolations and Bifurcations]. In 2011 Starling reinstalled over 30 works from Camden Art Centre’s exhibition history in the exact same place they were originally shown [Never the Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts)] and conflated a 16th century Japanese Noh play with the complex story surrounding the double life of Henry Moore’s sculpture ‘Atom Piece’ [Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima)]. In 2013 he installed Phantom Ride in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain, London and built a small black and white darkroom in his Copenhagen studio. In 2015 he used that darkroom to develop negatives made in 12 different cities across North America and Europe in an attempt to reconfigure two installation views of a 1927 exhibition of 22 sculptures by Constantin Brancusi’s at the Art’s Club of Chicago [Picture for an Exhibition] and began work on a play about W.B. Yeats’ 1916 foray into Noh theatre. The following year, that play within a play within and play (made in collaboration with theatre maker Graham Eatough, choreographer Javier de Frutos and musician Josh Abrams) [At Twilight] was performed on an open-air stage in the garden of an Egyptian-ate villa in Glasgow. This full-blown theatrical performance was followed by an attempted crossing of the Dead Sea in a canoe made from magnesium produced from Dead Sea water [Project for a Rift Valley Crossing]. In 2017, with the help of a zampogna player, a kaval player and the clog dancer, Starling imagined a possible meeting between three émigré musicians who had been photographed on Ellis Island, New York at the beginning of the 20th Century [The Liminal Trio plays the Golden Door] and installed an exhibition of four recent projects involving music at the MRAC, Sérignan [À l’ombre du pin tordu]. He is currently developing a film about a 400-year-old painting by Caravaggio [The Beheading of John the Baptist] and a public project involving a Giant Sequoia tree that will take 400 years to realize.