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SAM KEOGH at DORTMUNDER KUNSTVEREIN / Dortmund

SAM KEOGH / EUROCOPTER EC135

JUNE 4 – AUGUST 14 2016 

http://www.dortmunder-kunstverein.de/

















'Supposedly, after Versace was shot by Andrew Cunanan on
the morning of July 15th 1997 on the coral stone steps of his
mansion, a fan rushed over and tore a Versace ad from a
copy of Vogue magazine and started mopping up Versace's
blood with it to make a kind of souvenir. That decision must
have been made very quickly, to use an image printed on
glossy non-absorbent Vogue paper to mop up the still wet
blood, still not congealed, but after his body had been taken
away, but before it dried in the mid July Florida sunshine,
and still not soaked into the porous surface of the coral stone
steps of his mansion.' 

Sam Keogh (born 1985, Ireland) works with installation,
sculpture, performance, drawing and collage. In recent work
his installations are built to facilitate a performance which
morphs sculpture into props and collage into mnemonic
devices or surfaces to be read as a half improvised pictorial
script.

For his new exhibition 'Eurocopter EC135', Keogh is
presenting an installation of drawings, sculpture and
performance which knots together the murder of Versace,
police helicopters and the red marble clad lobby of
Dortmund's Unique Hotel. 

Elliptical forms float beneath a layer of transparent plastic
which coats the entire gallery floor. They variously depict an
obscured face framed by serpentine locks and the key of
Greece motif. Scattered across this surface are a vista of
small sculptures and found objects; a black rubber Adidas
saddle; an aquarium ornament in the form of a crashed
helicopter; a Versace ad torn from a glossy magazine;
amorphous lumps suggesting petrified decaying flesh, or
coral. Together these elements might evoke the flat expanse
of the sea bed, or a room prepped for some messy, possibly
violent activity. 

On the opening night this environment was activated with a
performance which re-arranges the objects and sculptures
into groups. Through a labor of loose association, Keogh
picked his way through the installation to synthesize
relationships between three emergent sets; the crime scene of
the murder of Gianni Versace; a cemetery for war veterans
in New Jersey; and the red-marble clad lobby of Dortmund's
Unique Hotel. Each set pollutes the other two to form a knot,
or bind, or a writhing tangle of disparate threads. At the sets'
intersections, flesh is turned to stone, images bleed and
glamour is de-sublimated into violence. After the opening
night, the film made through the performance is projected
into the installation. 

This exhibition asks how surface and texture can transmit
narrative, and how narrative can metamorphose matter into
new forms, make history haptic, tangible and malleable. The
borders of the works' own categories are flexed, permeated,
or morphed into breathable membranes. Paintings become
photographs, photographs become sculptures, sculptures
become props in a performance which scramble and rescramble
these categories.

Keogh lives and works in Amsterdam. He is currently artist
in residence at “De Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten”
in Amsterdam. The exhibition ‘Eurocopter 135’ is Keogh's
first solo exhibition in a German institution.