Maya Attoun: The Charms of Frankenstein
27 September – 4 November 2018
Private View and Frieze VIP event Thursday 4 October time tbc
To coincide with Frieze Art Fair, the Jewish Museum London will present The Charms of Frankenstein, a new commission and a site and context specific installation by artist Maya Attoun celebrating the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s iconic novel ‘Frankenstein’. Attoun’s most recent project ‘2018’ is both a weekly year planner and an artist’s book that revisits the year 1818 through the calendar of 2018, with the exception of the month of November that goes back to 1818 – the eve of the creature’s birth.
In her book, Shelley explored the complex relationship between technology and human nature through the character of a living-dead monster spawned by the new science. She portrayed humanity as an arena of contradictory impulses: good and evil, love and hate, creation and destruction.
Attoun will intervene in the Museum space to create a collision between contexts and contents as an extension of her conceptual process for the ‘2018’ planner and an exercise in her working methodology of what the artist refers to as ‘hypertextualisation in art’ – a dialogue between thought processes, intuitive gestures, materials and images. The planner will be reinterpreted into a three-dimensional experience and will engage carefully selected objects from the Museum’s collection alongside disparate groupings of artefacts such as souvenirs, found objects and prints, proposing new associative readings of their social and political contexts.
The exhibition will draw on the original artwork from the planner as well as newly created works in a variety of media including sound, photography and installation to explore conventions of archiving, exhibition making and museum display.
The project will reflect on myriad connections between the Jewish culture and history (including the myth of the Golem which found its way from Jewish folklore to Shelley’s classic), the literary sci-fi and gothic genres as well as poetry and pop culture. It will bring together Attoun’s interest in the intersections of myth, narrative, and science, as well as knot theory and Gothic Revival.
“I think there is an interesting correlation between the neo-gothic times which were the beginning of modernism and our times which are the disintegration of modernism. I feel that the monsters we confront today are the blasting of digital and visual information; the condition of post-truth where true or false, important and marginal lose their hierarchy.” Maya Attoun
In her installation Attoun – a female artist alter ego of Doctor Frankenstein – will spell her creative charms to subvert visitor expectations and to pay a homage to Mary Shelley. The exhibition will bring together the past, present, and future in an unconventional and non-linear way by inviting audiences to interact with creative processes, artwork, and the Museum’s collection. While leaving their own mark by confronting – and fabricating – their own ‘monsters’, the visitors’ participation will evoke the split complexity of the human psyche, where both the creature and his creator reside and play off power.
Maya Attoun (b. in Jerusalem, 1974) graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, where she received her BFA in 1997 and an MFA in 2006. She has been awarded the Creative Encouragement Award (2012), Oscar Handler Award (2010); Young Artist Award (2009); and the Oded Messer Award (2007), among others.
Attoun’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in museums and gallerie including Tel Aviv Museum, 2018; Free home, ARTIST TO ARTIST ,Maria & Vadim Zakharov 2018; Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, 2016; RMCA, Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Gouangzhou, 2016; Magazine III, Stockholm, 2014; Kallio Kunsthall, Helsinki, 2014; MACRO Testaccio, Rome 2013; Marie-Laure Flisch Gallery, Rome, 2012; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, 2011; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2009.