Nocturnal Emissions

Work by nine young international artists

25 September 2004 to 21 November 2004

The Groninger Museum presented the exhibition Nachtelijke Uitspattingen/Nocturnal Emissions. Nine artists participated in this exhibition: the artist assume vivid astro focus (Br/VS), the designer duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec (F), designer Maarten Baas (NL) and the artists Steven Gontarski (VS), Brian Griffiths (GB), Anthony Goicolea (VS), Lars Nilsson (S), Mark Titchner (GB), and Francesco Vezzoli (It). Their work ranges from video images, sculptures of rough scrap wood, design, staged photographs and traditional wood carvings through to super glossy sculptures of synthetic resin. Besides the light and happy side, the exhibition also showed the darker, more melancholy aspects of our existence.

The work of the artist avaf is characterised by the huge diversity of sources of inspiration, ranging from Renaissance-like styles including the French Mille Fleurs tapestries, to graffiti, Japanese designs and Flower Power motives. Avaf works out these different styles in wall-to-wall images on prints. He sometimes combines his images with videos showing a succession of clips, references, quotes, and abstract patterns.

The brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec (1971,1976) are designers. They make functional applications such as modular wall systems, movable kitchens and complete office constructions. Austere geometrical and elegant shapes are important aspects of their style of design. Their works are a part of the collection of the Moma in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among others.

Maarten Baas (1978) graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. He became known with his graduation project Smoke, a work consisting of furniture he set on fire using a gas burner. He then treated the charred version with transparent epoxy. In their new condition, the furniture can be used again. For the exhibition in the Groninger Museum, Baas will create an entirely new installation which, following the example of the Smoke series, will give the concepts of beauty, value, conservation, re-use and uncollecting a whole new meaning.

The sculptures of Steven Gontarski (1972) are made of glass fibre, covered with a layer of high-gloss polish. They appear almost liquid, surrealistic and futuristic. They were inspired by antique and classical sculptures and busts. Just like many classical sculptures, Gontarski's works miss body parts. The limbs are often deformed, the features masked. With their slick, smooth surface, the sculptures evoke powerful associations with eroticism, days long gone and mystical symbolism.

Anthony Goicolea (1971) makes big narrative photographs in which he plays all the roles, like some kind of digitised multiple presence. Although the main theme of his works is childhood, none of them come anywhere near the usual nostalgia. He uses props and various settings for his images. He then works the images on the computer. Goicolea's photographs have a surreal nature and breathe an atmosphere of repressed tension and aggression.

The British artist Brian Griffiths (1968) creates constructions of found materials. His installations, such as a knight on his horse, a space ship built from cardboard and plastic cups, a Viking ship and a circus wagon, appeal to the imagination. Griffiths has an unerring instinct for story-telling.

The work of Lars Nilsson (1956) consists of sculptures, videos and installations. Physicalness is one of the central themes in his work. In the recent video work 'In Orgia' the viewer is confronted with a romantic scene, a comment to everyday life in which even the most intimate moments appear marginalized.

Mark Titchner (1973) seems not to have lost his hope of making the world a better place. He uses billboards to convey his own messages and encourages the viewer to ponder on current social themes. One example from 2003 is the work Be Angry but don’t stop Breathing, an installation including wood sculptures next to the billboard. It invites the viewer to scream out into one of the wooden sculptures. These sculptures are connected with a water basin that catches the vibrations.

Complex video productions are typical of Francesco Vezzoli (1971). He often refers to his love of films and uses them to give shape to his personal fascination and fears. Each video revolves around a certain personality or scene. The film The End of Human Voice (2001) was not shown in the Netherlands before and was inspired by a theatre monologue by Jean Cocteau, turned into a film by Roberto Rossellini. Bianca Jagger (ex-wife of Mick Jagger) plays a desperate woman who has been left by her lover.

The exhibition Nachtelijke uitspattingen/Nocturnal Emissions follows the tradition of Peiling (1995) and Stroomversnelling (2001), showing works of young and, this time, international artists.