CURA.

MORAG KEIL
Moarg Kiel

ICA London

Jan 30 – April 14, 2019

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Keil works in installation, film, painting and drawing, and often collaborates with fellow artists. Her work frequently adopts a lo-fi, pared back aesthetic, incorporating everyday objects and found materials, alongside digital innovations that affect domestic life, such as home automation.

Throughout her varied practice, Keil appropriates and re-presents aspects of branding strategies from advertisements and social media platforms, to investigate and expose pervasive techniques for influencing consumerist desire. She also explores how visual and aural strategies, such as those used in computer gaming or commercial environments, are used to manipulate behaviour in ways that are premised on cliched notions of how gender is performed. Conceptually, Keil’s rejection of the hierarchies of value attached to art production is realised in the artist’s refusal to overproduce, while recognising this as an ever-present imperative.

A key work exhibited is a remodelled version of Passive Aggressive (2016–present), a video comprising clips from animated advertisements, the opening sequence to Big Brother and close-up footage of motorbikes parked on the street. These glimpses into real and simulated worlds evoke notions of fantasy and freedom; the passive camera viewpoint juxtaposed with the latent aggression of the machines.

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Potpourri, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Project Native Informant, London 
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Potpourri, 2013. Courtesy the artist; Cubitt, London; Project Native Informant, London. Photo Mark Blower 
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Passive Aggressive, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin 
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Passive Aggressive, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin 

Also on display is Potpourri (2013), a single-channel video streamed online from a computer workstation installed in the gallery. Alternating images of a young woman and man in a flat, and drive-by scenes of a moped with two riders, are overlaid with a text read by male and female voices constructed from a variety of sources, such as Instagram comments and a statement for members of a porn- related social media site. This central script connects Keil’s subjective examination of the influence these platforms have on how we present ourselves and stage identity, and how, in turn, we are perceived.

In these and other works, Keil explores the impact of data-capitalism on contemporary subjectivities while acknowledging how these are affected by the precarity of everyday realities, such as labour and wealth inequality. In bringing together a substantial body of work, this exhibition aims to show how Keil’s practice offers one of the most insightful and eloquent considerations of how a world increasingly mediated by technology and digital communication is impacting on our day-to-day existence.

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