Maya Attoun: The Charms of Frankenstein Press Release

Set of open teeth drawn in pencilSet of teeth drawn in pencil

Maya Attoun: The Charms of Frankenstein
27 September – 4 November 2018

Supported by Outset Contemporary Art Fund

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.

Press Contacts:

For further information or images please from Jewish Museum please contact:
Hannah Talbot on +44 (0) 207 7284 7356 or email
[email protected]


About Jewish Museum London

The Jewish Museum London tells the story of the history and heritage of Jews in Britain through universal themes of migration, family, faith and culture.

Our mission is to surprise, delight and engage all people, irrespective of background and faith, in the history, identity and culture of Jews in Britain. Our exhibitions, events and learning programmes encourage a sense of discovery and aim to provoke questions, challenge prejudice, and encourage understanding.

Outset Contemporary Art Fund

Established in 2003, Outset Contemporary Art Fund is the only international, independent charity pooling donations from patron circles and partners to support new art for the widest possible audiences. Present in 9 countries, it has raised over £8.5m worldwide to support the creative ecosystem. This spans education, professional development, the production of new work and exhibitions, institutional collecting, and initiatives that underpin the creative infrastructure for the long term. Outset is recognised for pioneering arts philanthropy through bespoke funding solutions. These include OFT, inviting curators from around the world to join the Tate’s curatorial team in selecting 100 works of art from Frieze for the Tate Collection; Studiomakers, providing entrepreneurial solutions for the protection of existing and creation artist studios in support of the Mayor of London‘s mission to protect affordable space for creatives; and encouraging partnerships around the world to support the realisation of challenging art projects at defining biennials and international art destinations. Always keeping patrons, partners and professionals at its core, Outset creates unparalleled experiences for people curious to engage in dynamic artistic discourse.


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