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Exhibition: Supersublime, romanticism & current sociopolitical & visual culture

Text by CLOT Magazine

Damien Roach

GIANT presents Supersublime, a group exhibition that explores how Romanticism continues to shape the digital age. Riffing off cinema’s perfected CGI landscapes, our anxiety over the emergence of AI and the undelivered promise of cryptocurrency, the show digs into the uneasy relationship between technology, nature and nostalgia.

GIANT is a 15,000-square-foot gallery in Bournemouth which opened in the Summer of 2021. Founded by British contemporary artist Stuart Semple is dedicated to presenting challenging works by some of the world’s most respected contemporary artists.

Romanticism continues to define our aesthetics. Against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, it looked to reverse scientific logic in favour of a ‘return to nature’ and a focus on imagination and subjectivity—nature over artifice; passion over reason; idealism over reality; nostalgia over progress.

The modern world can still be understood as swinging between the cool detachment of scientific rationalism on the one hand and a desire for transcendent experience on the other. Kitsch vestiges of Casper David Friedrich and William Wordsworth may remain, but Romanticism has evolved.
This exhibition taps into the enduring influence of Romanticism and how it maps to current sociopolitical and visual culture.

The cult of the artist, populism, postmodernism, post-truth, social media aesthetics, deep-fake videos, augmented reality and computer-generated imagery. Against its own instincts, Romanticism has embraced, responded to and influenced the digital information age. The more disconnected we feel, and anxiety arises about emergent technologies, the greater the appeal of Romanticism, a digital sublime.

The artworks in this show approach these elements in differing ways, and interactions emerge through the common threads running across them: the absurdity of digital interaction; the saturation of postmodern irony; the seductiveness of computer-generated imagery; the moral ambiguity of AI technology; the allure of nostalgia.

Bringing together emerging artists with more established names and ranging across video, sculpture, sound and print, Supersublime features works by Samuel Capps, Simon Denny, Theo Ellison, Joe Moss; Sofia Albina Novikoff Unger, Damien Roach, Sophie Rogers, Jennifer Steinkamp, Theo Triantafyllidis Jordan Wolfson, Guan Xiao and 00 Zhang.

Curated by Theo Ellison, Supersublime runs from 8 July to 7 October 2023.

(Media courtesy of GIANT)
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