Supersublime, Giant Gallery, Bournemouth, UK, 2023
Curated by Theo Ellison, Supersublime is a group exhibition that explores how Romanticism continues to shape the digital age. Riffing off cinema’s perfected CGI landscapes, our anxiety over the emergence of AI and the undelivered promise of cryptocurrency, the show features video, sculpture, sound and print that digs into the uneasy relationship between technology, nature and nostalgia.
Participating Artists: 00 Zhang, Damien Roach, Guan Xiao, Jennifer Steinkamp, Joe Moss, Jordan Wolfson, Samuel Capps, Simon Denny, Sofia Albina Novikoff Unger, Sophie Rogers, Theo Ellison, Theo Triantafyllidis
Curated by Theo Ellison, Supersublime runs from 8 July to 7 October 2023. Romanticism continues to define our aesthetic. Against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, it looked to reverse scientific logic in favour of a ‘return to nature’ and a focus on imagination and subjectivity. Nature over artifice; passion over reason; idealism over reality; nostalgia over progress.
The modern world can still be understood as swinging between the cool detachment of scientific rationalism on the one hand, and a desire for transcendent experience on the other. Kitsch vestiges of Casper David Friedrich and William Wordsworth may remain, but Romanticism has evolved.
This exhibition taps into the enduring influence of Romanticism and how it maps onto current sociopolitical and visual culture. The cult of the artist, populism, postmodernism, post-truth, social media aesthetics, deep-fake videos, augmented reality and computer-generated imagery. Against its own instincts, Romanticism has embraced, responded to and influenced the digital information age. The more disconnected we feel and the more anxiety arises about emergent technologies, the greater the appeal of Romanticism; a digital sublime.
The artworks in this show approach these elements in differing ways, and interactions emerge through the common threads running across them: the absurdity of digital interaction; the saturation of postmodern irony; the seductiveness of computer-generated imagery; the moral ambiguity of AI technology; the allure of nostalgia.