||Preview opening, 31 Oct, 6.30 – 9pm
The Whitechapel presents British artists Langlands & Bell, including new work A Muse Um, 2007.
BAFTA-winning artists Langlands & Bell explore the places and structures we inhabit and the coded systems of circulation and exchange which surround us. The Whitechapel presents new work A Muse Um, 2007, alongside recent digital animations and other works made following a visit to Afghanistan in 2002.
The Whitechapel showcases A Muse Um, 2007, in which the artists juxtapose museum abbreviations, such as MoMA, ICA or LACMA, with photographs of the buildings themselves. It is the latest work in a series of digital animations featuring acronyms used by a range of international organisations to identify and position themselves globally, among them NGOs, country domain names and terrorist groups. From these the artists have created a form of ‘concrete’ poetry; a language of codes that is instantly recognisable yet unsettling in its relentless, formulaic homogeneity. Also on show is Frozen Sky, 2000, an earlier animation that replaces the hands of a clock with a continuously rotating circle of familiar airport codes.
The Whitechapel also presents The House of Osama bin Laden, 2003, a 3-part multi-media installation made by the artists following a visit to Afghanistan in 2002. The award-winning work reflects on the aftermath of 9/11 and the remnants of both Western and al-Qaeda intervention in the landscape of Afghanistan.
The 3 parts of The House of Osama bin Laden trilogy include video projection, NGO, which documents the signposts of foreign non government organisations littering the Afghan landscape, like flags planted in foreign soil. Zardad’s Dog powerfully documents the trial of Abdullah Shah, a notorious militia commander whose ferocity earnt him his nickname. Finally The House of Osama bin Laden (the work which names the trilogy) is an interactive animation guiding the viewer through the empty, isolated house occupied by bin Laden near Daruntah, eastern Afghanistan, in the late 1990s. The house is recreated using the same interactive digital technologies adopted by the military for training exercises and by entertainment giants such as Playstation.
The interactive animation The House of Osama bin Laden is on display in the entrance gallery, and the exhibition continues in the Whitechapel Auditorium.
Notes for Editors
• Based in London, Ben Langlands (b. 1955) and Nikki Bell (b. 1959) have been collaborating since 1978. Their cross media practice includes sculpture, photography, film, video and architecture as well as digital and interactive technology.
• Their sculpture has often incorporated models and architectural layouts of politically or culturally strategic buildings, such as Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, as well as prisons, corporate headquarters and international agencies such as the UN in New York or the IMF’s offices in Paris.
• The artists have exhibited internationally since the early 1980s. Recent solo exhibitions include Zardad’s Dog, Tate Britain, London (2005), domain, Milton Keynes Gallery (2005), Architecture as Metaphor, Central House of the Artist, Moscow (2000), Frozen Sky, CCA Kitakyushu, Japan (1997) and Langlands & Bell, Serpentine Gallery, London (1966). Group exhibitions include Eye on Europe - Prints, Books, & Multiples / 1960 to Now, Museum of Modern Art New York (2006/07), Living Inside the Grid, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2003), Control. Space, ZKM Karlsruhe (2001), Sensation, Royal Academy London and touring (1997-1999), and 47th Venice Biennale (1997).
• Langlands & Bell were nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004. In the same year their exhibition The House of Osama bin Laden at The Imperial War Museum, London and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, won the prize for Interactive Arts Installation at the BAFTA Awards in London.
• Langlands & Bell is organised by the Whitechapel.
• The Whitechapel has entered the most exciting phase of its 100 year history: an ambitious expansion into the former library building adjacent to the Gallery. During the 18-month construction phase the Whitechapel has become the Whitechapel Laboratory with exhibitions, live music, poetry, talks and film via a new entrance at Angel Alley.
Talks & Events
• Preview Opening, Wednesday 31 October, 6.30 – 9pm.
• In Conversation – Langlands & Bell with Sir John Tusa, 1 Nov, 7pm, free
Via a new visitor entrance at Angel Alley during the 18-month construction phase of the Gallery’s expansion open Weds – Sun 11am – 6pm. Thursdays until 9pm with talks, events, poetry and music. Admission free. Whitechapel, Whitechapel High Street London E1. Nearest tube Aldgate East. T +44 (0) 20 7522 7888
The opening of Langlands & Bell is Wednesday 31 October, 6.30 – 9pm. To attend the opening email RSVP@whitechapel.org
For further press information please contact:
Rachel Mapplebeck on 020 7522 7880, 07811 456 806 or email