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Matthew Stone - Optimism as Cultural Rebellion - Exhibition tour from Matthew Stone on Vimeo.
The Hole is pleased to announce the first comprehensive gallery exhibition in the United States by British artist Matthew Stone.
The exhibition will focus on the intersections between the ideas, photography and sculptures that define Matthew’s work. Alongside his sculptural installations of photography, he will also be presenting a performance at the gallery titled “Anatomy of Immaterial Worlds” (November 3rd at 9pm) as part of the visual art performance biennial PERFORMA 11.
Two large wooden planes bisect the gallery walls and provide a rhythm for the navigation of the space. Photographic nudes printed directly onto birch panels are cut, hinged and folded along the walls and across the floor, in what uber-curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist has described as “a-perspective constellations”. In one work titled “Forever Rules” a large photographic nude is cut into hundreds of squares and attached to fabric that passes through an oak dodecahedron and cube, draping down onto the floor. Whilst Plato’s divine geometry is honored in part, it is simultaneously corrupted by the poetic complexity and beauty of the human body in action, flowing through and against the rigid logic of its geometric counterparts.
The title of the exhibition “Optimism as Cultural Rebellion” should be considered a one-line manifesto, perhaps a “mini-festo”. Since 2004 Matthew has developed a personal philosophy of Optimism, defining it as “the vital force that entangles itself with and then shapes the future.” This timely position permeates all of his activities. Matthew Stone operates as an artist in a total sense: his very being, his community, his lifestyle and its expression dictate the creation of his interconnected works. As well as creating photography and sculpture he works in multiple worlds as curator, philosopher, performer, musician, facilitator and cultural provocateur.
Matthew was born in 1982 and graduated from Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London with honors in painting. After leaving college he masterminded the art-collective-cum-scene !WOWOW! in squatted South-London buildings. Their group shows and parties in empty buildings attracted audiences of over 1500 people and a performance event at the Tate saw a record 4000 people in attendance. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at V1 Gallery, Denmark; Galerie Paul Freches, Paris; Boyschool, London; Gea Politi, Milan, and Union Gallery, London. I first came across Matthew’s work when Terence Koh presented Tianhuang Dadi at Asia Song Society on Canal Street in 2007.
Recent photographic projects include a collaboration with Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci for the cover of the 20th anniversary issue of Dazed & Confused magazine and a fold-out sculptural cover for the current Flaunt Magazine. He composes original music for close friend and collaborator, fashion designer Gareth Pugh’s shows and has directed music videos for acclaimed British bands These New Puritans, S.C.U.M and for New York lo-fi band No Bra.
More about Matthew Stone:
Matthew Stone is an artist and shaman. These two interconnected roles are defined by his activities as photographer, sculptor, performance artist, curator, writer, Optimist and cultural provocateur. Stone’s work and thinking goes far beyond the remit of his art, and his power of existence is recreating the role of the artist in the 21st century. Recognising this, The Sunday Times recently placed him at number one in the arts section of their “Power players under 30” list.
After Graduating from Camberwell Art School in 2004, with a first-class degree in Painting, Stone spearheaded South London’s !WOWOW! art collective, organizing guerrilla art exhibitions and throwing London’s most notorious and decadent squat parties. Dazed and Confused magazine featured the collective, claiming the children of !WOWOW! “would live on in legend for years to come.” and i-D Magazine described Matthew, saying “He gave birth to a happening, and all of a sudden, in his wake, London was exciting again.” In 2008 — !WOWOW! took over Tate Britain — attracting a record 4,000 people, who came to witness one of his performances.
Stone’s whole being is geared toward a life lived as art. His personalised definition of Optimism as a method for avant-garde thought and art practice, inverts the nihilistic cultural dialogues of the late twentieth century to create a necessary space for vibrant new ways of being. Saatchi Online said that Stone’s work “definitely points to the art of tomorrow, I think, an immaterial quality equal parts idealist belief and cynicism, working as an alternative, very palpable reality running along the rest of society.” Esteemed curator and ex-head of the Royal Academy; Norman Rosenthal said simply “he has invented a new ‘ism’—Optimism.”
Stone has provided the soundtrack to each of close friend, designer Gareth Pugh’s fashion shows and films, and was a resident DJ at London’s legendary nightclub Boombox.
Though perhaps most known for his painfully beautiful photographic nudes, most exciting is Stone’s recent move into video. He has begun to direct his own video-based artworks as well as a rapturous, celebrated and daring directorial debut in the form of a music video for cult heroes These New Puritans. Following the video’s release, NME instantly placed Matthew at number 14 in their list of the “50 Most Fearless People In Music”.
Churning bodies dissect rhythmic windows that open onto varied states of concentrated being. A collage of limbs and interconnected consciousness, involving and depicting transcendental states, meditations and ecstatic dance, spin into contemporary motion. The body is shown and used to free the viewer from their own. Stone’s work revolves specifically around creative interactions and community, based on the idea that individual autonomy can be successfully combined with the power of collectivity.
Recent exhibitions and performances have taken place at the Baltic, the Royal Academy, the ICA and Tate Britain. - Biography written by Karley Sciortino.
A Day in the Life: Matthew Stone by KARLEYSLUTEVER