Simon said: Modernism

Simon Starling

The British artist Simon Starling refers to objects or individuals in his projects, which embody the possibilities and ideas of Modernism. Based on extensive research, he elucidates the meaning of the vocabulary of Modernism, as well as the structures, on which this myth is based. By transforming auratically charged objects, reconstructing them or transferring them to different contexts and materials, he questions their original intentions and conditions. In this, unlike the avant-garde that focused on a break with history, his new definitions stress the continuation of history and its variations.

Simon Starling

Rescued Rhododendrons
, 2000, Filmstill

Playing with contextual shifts also characterizes Starling’s project “Rescued Rhododendrons”, in which a historical development is reversed, and which Simon Starling shows as a video installation in the gallery of Secession. The video work deals with returning the plant “Rhododendron ponticum” to its original site. Imported from the south of Spain to the north of Scotland in the mid-18th century, it is considered a weed there today. In the course of an announcement for a sculpture project in the
Scottish landscape, Simon Starling learned that the rhododendrons were to be uprooted and destroyed, so that they would not alter the original heathland ecosystem. Starling counteracted this plan and set out with the plants – in a red Volvo 240 Estate as transportation – on a rescue mission to return them to their original homeland.

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