2nd Oct 2007 - 9th Dec 2007
Alien Nation features the work of twelve contemporary international artists who use science fiction and extra-terrestrial forms to explore otherness, and racial difference as a metaphor for the threat of the outsider.
Yinka Shonibare MBE
Much has been written about the connection between sci-fi cinema of the 1950s and ‘60s and the Cold War, where fear of invasion, communism and nuclear war was played out in films that projected the anxieties of the present onto the future. In recent years many artists have similarly used science fiction and extra-terrestrial forms as a way of exploring racial difference and as a potent metaphor for the threat of the outsider.
The exhibition explores themes of 'otherness' and 'difference' through the language and iconography of sci-fi. The witty and provocative artworks on display encompass film, sculpture, photography, multi-media installations - even 3-D painting - and expose a disturbing contemporary narrative in which the media perpetuate a terror of 'invasion' from immigrants, asylum seekers (or any racial, cultural or ethnic 'other'), making such 'outsiders' as the dominant threat to both family and national stability.
Mingling fact and fiction, science and art, Alien Nation will also show a collection of original sci-fi film posters from the 1950's to present day, courtesy of The Reel Poster Gallery, as well as extracts from contemporary and archive science fiction films as part of this unique exhibition that reveals our innermost fears and fantasies about the outsider.
Alien Nation features work by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Henna Nadeem, David Huffman, Kori Newkirk, Eric Wesley, Mario Ybarra Jr., Laylah Ali, Hamad Butt, Hew Locke, Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne, and Marepe.
The exhibition is co-produced by the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London and the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA), London. It is co-curated by Gilane Tawadros, Jens Hoffmann and John Gill.
Alien Nation is supported by the Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with contributions from the curators.
Previous image: Yinka Shonibare MBE, Dysfunctional Family, 1999. Wax-printed cotton, polyester, wood and plastic. Collection of Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Butler Family Fund, 2000. Image courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London