Grow Finish Unit (near Elkhart, Kansas) 2008


Installed at John Gerrard, Animated Scene
53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy
7 June – 30 September, 2009
site specific free standing projection wall
450 cm x 600 cm x 30 cm
solo show curated by Jasper Sharp and Patrick T. Murphy

The two Grow Finish Unit works (Eva, Oklahoma and near Elkhart, Kansas) stand as unique records of the extremes of functionality to be found at the start of the industrialised food production chain, wherein the contract between farmer and farmed is reduced to a purely technical, almost contactless process.  The sheds reconstructed on these two virtual representations of sites on the Great Plains of the western United States each house up to 1,000 pigs, and each is entirely unmanned and operated on a day to day basis by computer.

A scene almost entirely without visible action, the only apparent movement is that of an autonomous wind which animates the surface dust on the effluent ponds in an ongoing and open way.  Additionally, in a symbolic moment of exchange, every 6 - 8 months a transport truck will arrive and pull up to each building, where it stands for 1 hour.  This rhythm, which is an open behavior, reflects the growth cycle of the pigs enclosed within the sheds: the animals are being loaded into the trucks to be transported for butchering.  As in reality, at no point are the many thousands of occupants of the eight sheds visible under the sun, which relentlessly circles in a 12-month orbit of its own, giving ultimate definition to the span of the work.

As in the artist’s related works with oil derricks, in viewing the Grow Finish Units one is being exposed to a representation of modern society’s means of production at the structural level.  The aesthetic is one that has been shaped directly and purely by speculative forces.  The sense that this representation is not an image but rather a place that exists in simulation, always and in real time, provides a special position from which to contemplate the reality that undergirds “everyday” reality.
AO


Credits:

Production: Werner Poetzelberger.
Modelling: Daniel Fellsner.
Programming: Helmut Bressler, Matthias Strohmaier.
Presentation design / Corian fabrication: Jakob Illera / Inseq, Vienna.

Production stills


Research


2012 · Junge Akademie

Berlin, Germany

25. April – 28. Mai 2012
http://www.diejungeakademie.de

2011 · Universal

Void Gallery, Derry, N. Ireland

1 March - 1 April 2011
solo exhibition curated by Jonathan Cummins


Void is delighted to present the first exhibition in Northern Ireland by Irish artist John Gerrard.
The exhibition consists of Sow Farm (Near Libbey, Oklahoma) 2009 a screen-based work depicting a vast and unmanned, computer-controlled animal farming facility, and Universal (Near Iron Springs, Alberta) 2011, a high-resolution projection, which centres on a pair of oil derricks situated in the Canadian landscape, near Calgary. Universal takes its title from the name of the firm that installed the derrick and which can be found emblazoned on the arms of the machines. Universal extends Gerrard’s Animated Scene series, with its strong emphasis on exchanges of power and energy and last shown at the Venice Biennale in 2009...
http://www.derryvoid.com/

2011 · John Gerrard

Ivorypress, Madrid, Spain

7 February - 2 April, 2011
solo exhibition curated by Johnathan Cummins
pictured with Grow Finish Unit (Eva, Oklahoma), 2008

Ivorypress Art + Books Space I will be hosting an exhibition of John Gerrard (Dublin, 1974) from 7 February until April the second 2011. This multidisciplinary artist's work combines new technologies with photography and poetic language, while also reflecting on political and social issues. Among the works on display figures Cuban School (Sancti Spiritus), 2011 – comissioned by Ivorypress – a work that deals with the actual situation in Cuba out of an artistic perspective. Through hundreds of photographs of a school on the outskirts of Havana, Gerrard has constructed a 3D model and generated a software that allows the viewer to see the building from any distance and perspective. The work changes throughout the day and shows the lighting it would have in Cuba at the same moment we're seeing its image in Madrid. The condition of the building, which still functions as a school even as it falls to ruin, is a way to speak about melancholy and to envisage the effects of time on structures, whether architectonic or human.
http://www.ivorypress.com/

2011 · John Gerrard

PICA, Perth, Australia

350 cm x 262 cm projection
solo exhibition

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in partnership with the Perth International Arts Festival presents the first Australian solo exhibition by highly acclaimed Irish artist John Gerrard.

Gerrard has fast gained international recognition for his innovative work with slow-moving animated images of stark landscapes, which he describes as 'virtual sculptures'. The exhibition features meticulously created animated video works that depict in chilling realism infamous dust storms in Texas and Kansas during the 1930s, 24-hour circumnavigations of a fully automated pig farm in Kansas and the relentless movement of a lone oil derrick in Colorado. These scenes, which appear astonishingly real, are entirely fabricated by the artist and his studio using the new temporal medium of Realtime 3D, a technology principally employed by the gaming industry...
http://www.pica.org.au

2010 · OPEN / INVITED e v+ a

Limerick, Ireland

13 March – 23 May 2010
e v+ a the exhibition of visual+ art
Limerick, Ireland
http://www.eva.ie
a solo exhibition in collaboration with Peter Carroll

2009 · John Gerrard, Animated Scene

53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy

7 June – 30 September, 2009
site specific free standing projection wall
450 cm x 600 cm x 30 cm
solo show curated by Jasper Sharp and Patrick T. Murphy

Animated Scene presented three new works as large-scale projections. Each work introduced a virtual scene - astonishingly real but entirely and meticulously fabricated by the artist and his studio between 2007-9 - based on documentation of the agri-industrial landscapes of the American Great Plains, scattered with grain silos, pig production units and small towns...
http://www.johngerrard-venice.net

2008 · Mortal Coil

Parkers Box Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USA

12 September - 5 October, 2008
group exhibition

Parker's Box is delighted to present "Mortal Coil", an exhibition of works by four artists from Northern Europe, whose respective practices all include the use of moving images. While none of the participating artists comes from quite as far north as the Danish court where Shakespeare's Hamlet pronounced the famous words of the exhibition title, they all certainly understand that character's obsessions. In the very contemporary choice of techniques and images made by these artists, there is a significant grain of Hamlet's preoccupation with the fragile spiral of existence...
http://www.parkersbox.com

Response


Gopnik, Blake: "Avoiding Mechanical Overload", The Washington Post, November 5, 2009

Donoghue, Katy: "John Gerrard: Animated Scene" Whitewall, July 2, 2009

Laster, Paul & Von Hase, Bettina: “Blogs and Stories: The Biennale’s Best”, www.thedailybeast.com, 18 June 2009

Gopnik, Blake "A Most 'Animated' Eco-Critique",  The Washington Post, June 9, 2009

Tonchi, Stefano "Venice | Slowly But Surely", The New York Times' T Magazine, June 9, 2009

Higgins, Charlotte "Venice Biennale Diary: Pig Processing and Slow Food - the Arty and the Party", The Guardian, June 5, 2009

Baker, Elizabeth C.: "John Gerrard: Knoedler Project Space and Simon Preston", Art In America, May 4, 2009

Landi, Ann: "John Gerrard: Simon Preston - Knoedler Project Space", ARTnews, April 2009

Let's Get In Touch


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2011 · JOHN GERRARD / IVORYPRESS, MADRID, SPAIN
2011 · JOHN GERRARD / PICA, PERTH, AUSTRALIA
2010 · OPEN / INVITED E V+ A / LIMERICK, IRELAND
2010 · OPEN / INVITED E V+ A / LIMERICK, IRELAND
2009 · JOHN GERRARD, ANIMATED SCENE / 53RD INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION, LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA, ITALY
2009 · JOHN GERRARD, ANIMATED SCENE / 53RD INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION, LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA, ITALY
2009 · JOHN GERRARD, ANIMATED SCENE / 53RD INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION, LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA, ITALY
2009 · JOHN GERRARD, ANIMATED SCENE / 53RD INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION, LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA, ITALY