STUART BRISLEY, Arbeit Macht Frei, 1973

Arbeit Macht Frei, 1973

Moral Holiday
18 October 2012 – 12 January 2013

Northern Gallery for
Contemporary Art

City Library and Arts Centre
Fawcett Street
Sunderland SR1 1RE

Artists include: Bruce Nauman, Valie Export, Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley, Gordon Matta-Clark, Abel Abidin, Stuart Brisley, Ben Vautier, David Shrigley, Phil Collins, Ryan Gander, Murray Ballard, Martin Kellett, Darren Cullen, Teal Griffin, Sara Punshon, Rafael Rozendaal, Nicholas Keogh, Clarita Lulic, Marjolaine Ryley, Max Prus, Pablo Wendel

“The universe is a system of which the individual members may relax their anxieties occasionally, and moral holidays in order... I fully believe in the legitimacy of taking moral holidays.” William James

“Serious, sophisticated immoralism can be enormously valuable, but is not a single position at all, much less a solid creed [or] a negative counterpart to morality which can be preached and make converts… It is a range of critical enquiry, and one which continually changes. It consists of a set of widely varied criticisms of existing moralities”. Mary Midgley

‘Moral Holiday’ presents the work of two generations of artists, all of whom have created their work largely in lens-based media. All stage what might be called ‘thought experiments’ that query the existing moral order, or dramatise ethical quandries. The exhibition brings together seminal works by British and American artists alongside works by younger artists from Amsterdam, Dublin, Glasgow and London, and includes the UK premieres of works by five of the artists. The works range from the hypnotic, almost narcotic work ‘Hybrid Moment’ by pioneering online artist Rafael Rozendaal to the ironic poetry of Adel Abidin’s three-screen work ‘Three Love Songs’. It contrasts the destructive genius of Gordon Matta-Clark with Nicholas Keogh’s work ‘A Removals Job’ in which a team of workers breach seemingly every rule of health safety whilst dismantling an entire whole Victorian house from fixtures to floorboards.