That’s Why You Never Swallow Bubble Gum
14 - 29 March 2020
Vernissage 12 – 3pm Saturday 14 March
For this exhibition Roberto Ekholm brings new sculptural works to the Glitter Ball project space to turn it into a sculptural landscape reminiscent of a holistic space. Barbell weights, resistance bands, and exercise balls are relieved of functionality in this new context but tied to a performative notion. They recall minimalist aesthetics where material, colour and textures gain a meditative power as well as a sense of tension and a sexual subtext. Working with ready-made and fabrication, as well as casting and painting, a new set of meanings are produced for these objects. The exhibition pushes Roberto’s practice into new developments: his performance background is explored in his choice of material and sculptural compositions, and alongside this his use of colour and textures has a painterly quality. His new work encourages us to linger on the details and wonder how they inform us about our relation to materials and the space they occupy.
These works originate from Roberto’s ongoing fascination with the body, gym equipment, interior spaces of healing, exercises and the cultural production of fears and desire of survival. Inherent in Roberto’s work is the interplay between the body, identity, and social structures. An absurd healing trend often leads his research to ancient beliefs around healing, to aesthetics of a trendy gym interior, to the colours in an El Greco painting. He cherry-picks across history to find references that combine to tell us something about our identity and beliefs, for instance combining a Grindr username with the traditional name of the paint colour he has used.
The exhibition’s humorous title draws on two very different cultural references: the first an internet meme that reimagines Pilates balls as gum bubbles for the person sat upon them, the other to Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Fortune. Roberto’s use of colour and texture in the works evokes our desire for the apparatus of fitness and the fitness aesthetic. His compositions, however, convey the humorous absurdity of buying into projected ideals of fitness and healing trends, what he calls 'commodity of survival'.
Roberto Ekholm (b. Gran Canarias, Spain/Gothenburg, Sweden 1976) studied at Laban Centre and Goldsmiths College, London. His work includes performances, sculpture and photography drawing on our present ideas about identity through discourses of pseudo-science, the body and our environment around us. He explores the concept what he calls commodities of survival which plays on the materiality of gyms, exercise and medical believe systems.
Recent exhibitions include /ˈmeɪkʌp/, MOCA London, Nature Morte (Touring exhibition, Guildhall Art gallery London, National Museum Wroclaw, Poland, Bohusläns Museum, Sweden,, Hå gamle Prestegard, Norway, 2017-2015), Miniscule 2, Cross land Projects. UK 2019), Art Vanz, Launch, (Rogaland Kunstcentre, Stavanger 2019) Postcards from the Edge, (Visual Aids, New York 2020 Gallery Bortolami /2019/2018), Performative Objects, (Visual Aids, New York 2019), Institution critical, (Visual Aids, New York 2018), Malevolent Eldritch Shrieking, Attercliffe™, (Sheffield 2018), The Fall of the Rebel Angels (Venice, 56), Art of not Making (Bukowskis, Sweden),Rock-paper-scissors, (Milan), Re-Imagine:Ourselves, (New York), Touch of The Oracle/Golden Rain, (Palm Springs), The Show, (Barcelona), Where the Men Met, (Stockholm), Inspired by Soane, Sir John Soane’s Museum (London).
Roberto has also curated several exhibitions through EKCO London including Happy Hour at Kristin Hjellgjerde Gallery, London 2019 and is a curator at MOCA London. Between 1998-2000 he worked as dancer and assistant choreographer with Lulu’s Livingroom. His work is featured in the Thames &Hudson publications The WORD is Art and Nature Morte.