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"Remix: Contemporary Art and Pop"
2002-05-24 until 2002-08-26
Tate Liverpool
Liverpool, , UK United Kingdom

Remix is a visually and aurally dynamic exhibition, creating unexpected multi-layered connections between visual art, music, film and music videos. Liverpool is known the world over for its pop music heritage. Because it was the first point of entry for American soul and pop records, it became a centre for appreciation of pop music with a strong dance culture from the late 1950s. The current popularity of dance and club culture in the city (particularly Cream) speaks of a continuing creative tradition. Remix will tap into this tradition, drawing emotive analogies between the world of contemporary art and that of popular music in all its manifestations.

The technique of remixing has been used since the mid 1960s when King Tubby and Lee Perry first started to experiment with Dub music in Kingston, Jamaica. The bringing together and reconfiguring of a wide range of sources is now at the heart of the sampling culture in which we live. This exhibition aims to tap into the same eclectic and pragmatic spirit, where chronologies are broken down, opposites attract and new connections are made. In Remix, musical history becomes a resource to be plundered and the works of art in this exhibition reflect a DJ mentality of nostalgia, irony and fandom. This approach has recently developed through the use of sampling technologies, but has long been at the centre of popular music: whether in the sampling of Steely Dan and Kraftwerk by artists such as De La Soul, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa or the fully sampled soundscapes of The Avalanches or Dr Octagon, to name but a few.

For the artists in Remix, music appears as a form of inspiration and their work reflects the visual cultures of film, video and photography that are closely associated with the appreciation and consumption of music. The exhibition includes paintings, videos, sculptures and installations by twenty international artists who engage with genres as varied as psychedelia, techno, rock, heavy metal, soul, hip hop and film soundtracks. The collective euphoria of crowds, clubbers and pop audiences is explored in works by Doug Aitken, Andreas Gursky, Mark Leckey and Rineke Dijkstra. The excitement of performance is explored in Andrea Bowers’ video installation featuring players on a complex karaoke dance routine machine and Gillian Wearing’s video of air guitarists. Fandom and the fascination with pop celebrities is the subject of paintings by Dexter Dalwood, Gary Hume, Dawn Mellor, Chris Ofili and Elizabeth Peyton. The remix attitude is explored in works with numerous musical and visual references by Angela Bulloch, Ricky Swallow, Wolfgang Tillmans and Julian Opie.

Music videos are a vital part of the exhibition and have been carefully selected to demonstrate their influence from the 1990s to the present day. MTV has helped create a culture where the music video became not only the prime marketing tool for pop but also an artform in itself. There have been recent cross-overs between the world of pop video directing and contemporary art, for example Wolfgang Tillmans has recently directed a video for the Pet Shop Boys. Remix will include influential works by acclaimed directors such as Chris Cunningham, Spike Jonze, Hammer and Tongs and Jonas Akerlund for performers such as Fat Boy Slim, Björk, Radiohead and The Chemical Brothers.

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