Adam Thompsom

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Adam Thompsom, UK

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Solo Exhibitions
2011   Unosolo Project Room, Milan, Italy
2010   MOT International, London
         Unthinged, Hayward Gallery Concrete Space, London
         Showreel, Project curated by Paola Caravati, Milan, Italy
2008   Galerie Bernhard Knaus, Frankfurt, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
2011   Surface Value, The David Roberts Art Foundation, London
          New Sculpture II, The Saatchi Gallery, London (upcoming) Young London, V22,
         흩어지는 전술 Hit and Run, Various locations around Seoul, South Korea
         Tool-Use, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
         Studio Artists, Changdong Studios, South Korea
         Reflection Factory, Kunstarkaden, Munich, Germany
2010   Landscape Without Horizon, Museum Schloss Moyland, Germany
         Slip Sensor – Part II, Cell Project Space, London
         Between the Silhouette and the Background, 1/9 unosunove, Rome, Italy
         Roaming, Museum of Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy
         Yesterday Will Be Better, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland
         Discretion/Determination, La Salle de bains, Lyon, France
2009   The Object of the Attack, The David Roberts Art Foundation, London
         A Work A Day, MOT International, London
         Part One, Nordisk Kunst Plattform, Brusand, Norway
         No End in Sight, Vegas Gallery, London
2008   Terra Firma, Fold Gallery, London
         (No) Fear, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Germany
         No End in Sight, Galerie Polaris, Paris
         Joe Ouackam
Awards & Residencies
2011   UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries, Changdong Art Studio,
         National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea
2010   Residency Künstlerhaus Edenkoben, Germany
         Residency David Roberts Art Foundation, London
2007   British Council Travel Grant
David Roberts Art Foundation, London.
Saatchi Collection, London.
Public and private collections in England, Germany, Belgium, Italy.

Adam Thompsom

The contemplation of Adam Thompson’s works easily leads us to imagine the artist walking around wastelands, like a postindustrial flâneur randomly picking up some disused materials and objects, which obviously fascinate him. That would be a comfortable way to approach the mute and puzzling set of elements he displays as sculptures, installations or wall works. This romanticized, not to say legendary, approach of his work draws our attention to its very poetical aspect and rich power of imagination, and this counterbalances with the cold and generic universe reinforced by the unique title, <Untitled>, of each work. To distinguish the works from each other implies to refer to their exact composition and compel to describe them. <Untitled>(2012) is a Polystyrene foam board leaning on the wall. It echoes the form of a John McCracken’s rectangular sculpture which would have somehow completely lost any of its sophisticated features (perfect plane and polish surface and its sheer colour). Our look bumps into the irregularities of this synthetic surface, which reveals its own pictorially rich potential. <Untitled>(2012) is a stack of dented and mainly black aluminium water filters displayed on top of each other, in front of four filters “salvaged” from air conditioner units simply hung on the wall. Another work from 2012 consists of a pile of oxidized copper sheets. And <Untitled>(2011) also gathers material to create again a vertical sculpture, another cylindrical column — not black but transparent — in front of four rectangular Mylar boards leaning against the wall. Here the thin plastic films have been found as such, damaged by rain. 

All Thompson’s works are directly taken from the archaeology of everyday life. Such as a collection of industrial residues and elements from the Junkspace of architecture and urban landscape, Thompson’s works connect with the sci-fi literary or cinematic universes among others inspired by J.G Ballard, William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott or David Cronenberg. With them, the artist shares a common visual environment, a colour scheme — cold, dark, blue and black — and a clinical or aseptic display.

However, beside this possible fictional interpretation, the artist has been developing a proper system of quasi self-generated forms, an atavistic version or retro-vision of minimal abstract sculpture. In each series of works, the found object, as a random starting point, ends being inevitably replaced in the open-ended loop of the artist’s collection. The encounter with a single or a group of found objects generates the search for the next components belonging to the same typology or formal family. The reason why an object or a piece of material had been selected and what first triggered the curiosity and imagination of the artist always disappears remaining at the blurry border of a process that certainly distances any subjective decision from the final plastic composition. <Untitled>(2011) is a fragile vertical assemblage of sixteen damaged laptop screens. Their black liquid crystals offer automatic or random abstract patterns reminding a Rorschach test or some of the Hans Hartung monochromatic and translucent lithographies. 

Thompson’s creation process and playful game consists of operating without any hand made interventions on the structure or surface of the object or with a grammar of minimum gestures restricted to juxtaposition or assemblage. His artistic strategy stages the belief, the eternal promise of the latent existence or perpetuation of those industrial and standardized elements, which used to stand as minimal sculpture. Relocating them in the field contemporary art, Thompson re-autonomises those functional but disused objects, however the damaged surfaces and traces of human use dissolve the anonymity and the generic aspect of those mass-produced forms. If those found objects have been removed from industrial series, they are no longer the reproduction of each of their fellow forms. The artist’s decision to choose the object in order to individualize and affirm the status of the artwork is no longer at stake. This choice has been substituted by the combination of both the worn traces and the consumption logic whose consequential obsolescence anticipated the artist’s decision to snatch the object from its functionality.

Thus, some of the essential features of the minimal sculpture aesthetics have been somehow cancelled or rendered invalid, leaving those forms as empty shells ready to be loaded again with other meanings and new stories. Such as a meta-discourse on the collection, those dead objects had been arrested in time before the artist collected them. On the contrary of the traditional logic of the collection, this is not the replacement of those objects in another field, for some exhibition purpose, which subtracts them from their functionality. They were already considered as scraps and wastes, as material without qualities. Therefore, putting them back in circulation in a new field of exchanges and values, Thompson establishes a metacollection negotiating a new space in-between death and life again.