God is Great (10-19

John Latham | Neal White
Portikus Gallery
Frankfurt 2014

God is Great (10-19) 2014
John Latham | Neal White

Portikus Gallery, Frankfurt.
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An exhibition that consisted of the work ‘God is Great’ by John Latham and installation and site based project by Neal White.

“Portikus presents the work of late British conceptual artist John Latham (1921-2006) and a new work by artist and professor of art Neal White. By facilitating a dialogue between these two practices, the show decodes Latham’s expansive and hugely complex oeuvre and the conceptual legacy of art in relation to the ‘event’ as a structural entity.“

Undertaken with Portikus in conjunction with Stadehlschule, Latham Foundation and Flattimehouse, London.

For more information and DVD see NOIT 2, edited by Lisa le Feuvre.

Curated by Sophie Von Olfers for Portikus.

With thanks to Claudia Famulok, Jose Segebre, Nick, Reece, Amy, Andrew, Stewart, Dana and Christian.

For more on the installartion process and all exhibitions at Portikus - see: Helke Bayrle’s unique film archive Portikus Under Construction
➔ www.portikusunderconstruction.de

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Dislocated Data Palm (2014) 

Consisting of a number of what Latham termed ‘event structures’, the main gallery housed a 14 metre high data or mobile cell tower (manufactured from steel, plastic and natural fibres) in the disguised form of a palm tree.

Suspended above the gallery floor where Latham work ‘God is Great’ was originally installed,  the 5.5 metres suspended head and upper section of the 14 metre high sculpture is positioned in relation to its lower section, that is 8.5 metres . This lower section was placed outside and can be viewed from the gallery amongst a prototype post natural landscape as radome geometric forms spread into the island.

These sculptures are contemporary event structures - dislocated from Frankfurt’s advanced data landscape that includes NSA's European Cryptology Dagger Complex just outside Frankfurt, as well as the Quantum Trading facilities of the Frankfurt’s stock exchange and some of Europe’s largest financial trading data hubs.

Recordings made at the above sites were also broadcast back though the same network, connecting visitors devices using a special App (Field Broadcast*) wherever they might be when transmission started.

These event structure address how time and space collapse and act as access points to the data landscapes they inhabit, developing new concerns with Lathams work and ideas that were discussed by both artists before John passed away in 2006.

*A project developed with Office of Experiments and Field Broadcast, London.

Skoob Performances

As part of the supporting programme developed with Sophie von Olfers and Stadehlschule, Neal White coordinated a series ofJohn Latham performance works; 'Skoobs'  (a word and a sculpture in reverse).

Realised by White with students and with close guidance from old friend Barbara Steveni, former partner of John Latham, both performances and the exhibition of ‘God is Great’ by Latham addressed the complex issues involved in exhibiting conceptual arts most radical works (see postscript), highlighting both moral and ethical limits of the work and the gallery.

Skoob Performance at Stadehlschule, Frankfurt. 

Post-event image with ‘God is Great’ by John Latham absent.

Post script - Unexpected events

As publicised widely in the German media, John Latham’s controversial work ‘God is Great‘ was violently vandalised shortly after the exhibition formally opened. 

A text prepared by the Latham Estate and Lisson Gallery was agreed with Portikus and displayed alongside documentation of the work that was physically removed for repair. As a result, Dislocated Data Palm remained the only artwork on display in the gallery.