The brand new exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on Chamberlain Square explores the role technology has played in the production and presentation of visual arts.
‘I Want! I Want!’ brings together a diverse array of pieces from the Arts Council Collection encompassing paintings and drawings, sculpture, digital video and interactive games.
The entire show is a celebration of innovation in artistic design, exemplified by ‘Kalimpong’, a concrete and bronze sculpture by Shezad Dalwood representing Japanese monk Ekai Kawaguchi which has been ingeniously treated to appear as if made from crushed and compacted mountain snow, resulting in a crystalline, almost glittery effect. The connection between the physical and spiritual is evoked by Dagwood’s pairing of the statue with ‘tantric’ wallpaper.
The video work ‘Walking With Acconci (Redirected Approaches)’ features rapper Plan B (aka Ben Drew) pacing up and down a corridor, ranting at an unseen ex, in a reimagining of Vito Acconci’s original ‘Walk-Over’. The exhibit also includes an ‘The First Grand National’, an audio installation by Ryan Gander, the curator of the playful touring ‘Night In The Museum’ show which recently left the gallery.
One of the standout pieces is Michael Fullerton’s wall-high replica of Alan Turing’s portrait in newsprint; a fitting addition to a show all about technology. Turing was, after all, the computer scientist who helped win World War Two by cracking the Enigma code, whose contributions were never recognised in his lifetime (he tragically died after being persecuted for his sexuality). The sheer scale of Turing’s image creates the illusion that he is watching over the entire gallery, like some patron saint of technological wizardry.