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Filip Markiewicz: Celebration Factory

20/05/2017 – 15/07/2017

Co-commissioned by NN Contemporary Art & Casino Luxembourg

Curated by Catherine Hemelryk & Kevin Muhlen

“Europe is Lost” sings the British spoken word artist Kate Tempest in her protest song of the same name.

The headlines of the international media announce the crisis, some even talk of war. The French singer Jeanne Added sings elsewhere “A war is coming”. Today’s Europe is evidently in a challenging period since the crisis of migrants, the rise of populist parties and terrorist attacks. Beyond these events, the consumer society and the world of entertainment continue to perform. Despite the terrorist attacks, people continue to make art, attend rock concerts, go to the theatre, dance, go clubbing…

Artist Filip Markiewicz’s new body of work responds to these crises in an exhibition that will evolve over the coming 18 months. The exhibition’s migration is, in part, an autobiographical mirror for the artist from the project’s debut at NN Contemporary Art in Northampton, home to a significant Polish diaspora, and the artist’s native Luxembourg. The exhibition will be held by Casino Luxembourg in 2018 and will also include work he’s preparing with the Theater Basel (CH) and a series of Euro drawings currently presented at the Kunsthalle Tübingen (D)

The Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman talks about “liquid modernity” where the individual is in the centre. Nothing is fixed, the neoliberal world teaches us a new way of conceiving our existence. The aim of CELEBRATION FACTORY is to try to represent this aspect of our society through the form of entertainment. The exhibition is not intending to be a kind of political activism, but rather to develop an almost surreal language consolidating different expressions, music and celebration; to find a liquid and artistic language fitting our moving and evolving society.

Some of the works comprising the exhibition draw from a retro-futurism with a nod to Z series cinema. Political power structures are represented by a mise en scène close to the absurd where many genres are mixed. It is a phenomenon that can also be seen in our media-political society in which we distinguish less and less the star-system from politics, and where a kind of vampirisation of contemporary pop culture takes place. Northampton is the place of origin of the post-punk band Bauhaus, whose famous song Bela Lugosi is Dead became a dark anthem of the 80s subculture.

The exhibition sees a factory of drawings with imagery including the detritus from big night’s out such as Polish Zywiec beer bottles, Daily Mail’s Brexit frontpage, Motörhead frontman Lemmy, Albrecht Dürer’s Jesus portrait with Pepsi cans, European hymn composer and Clockwork Orange Icon Ludwig van Beethoven with a melting Volkswagen Logo. The soundtracks to these hand-drawn multiples are provided by a new film by Filip exploring Northampton’s music scene. The piece was filmed over one weekend and includes conversations with Professor of Punk Roy Wallace, behind the scenes footage of Northampton’s Male Voice Choir recording their new album, rappers Phundo Art, Molly Mikes & Jack Parker performing at the legendary Labour club (now known as The Lab) and avant-garde black metal band Denigrata rehearsing and more. What began as a search for Bauhaus, became a snapshot of the resilience and panoply of creativity in one British town during this time of seismic political change.

About the artist:

Luxemburger of Polish origin, Filip Markiewicz (b.1980) is a multidisciplinary artist expressing himself through, a.o., drawing, video and installations thereby creating a coherent visual body of work using diversified media. The artist, who is always looking for explanations to our daily lives, explores the omnipresence of image and puts in perspective the message they convey. Applying criticism and a certain political twist to “the news”, he underlines the vacuity of our overproducing visual world where news becomes reality and not the opposite. While capitalism has become an ideology and banks the new cathedrals of mass expression, Filip interrogates some aspects of the European populations’ discontent: social welfare, migration, wars outside our borders, religious integrity, the use of national and private wealth, the value of art as a reflection of culture. His willingness to go back to the pencil and the paper emerges from the need to use drawing as a widespread technique of expression that leaves a “real” imprint in a digitalized world of abstract evidence lead by forms and colours. Markiewicz was selected to represent the Great Duchy of Luxemburg at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) with his project Paradiso Lussemburgo, that was particularly appreciated for its cohesion through complexity and variety of artistic disciplines. (© aeroplastics)


Work in Progress

Saturday 10 June 2017, 2–4pm

For artists by artists, bring your work in progress for friendly peer critique. WiP is led by Sayed Sattar Hasan and starts with one or two featured artist presentations before opening the conversation out to the regular peer critique. If you would like to be a future featured artist at WiP, email us at info@nncontemporaryart.org.

Write Club: Funding applications

Friday 16 June 2017, 1–2 pm

Join Catherine Hemelryk for a session on preparing funding applications. Bring examples of applications you are preparing and a pen, paper, laptop or tablet.

Protest songwriting workshop

Saturday 17 June 2017, 2–4 pm

Join Punk Scholar and DIY filmmaker Roy Wallace for this informal workshop to introduce you to writing and performing your protest song. The workshop will explore different approaches protest songs have taken over the years from punk to folk to rap. Bring ideas and your instruments. Open to all ages (anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult)

Artist tour of the show with Filip Markiewicz

Sunday 18 June 2017, 1 pm

Join CELEBRATION FACTORY artist Filip Markiewicz for an informal tour of the exhibition and your opportunity to ask questions. The tour will be live-streamed as part of our Online Conversations, visit www.nncontemporaryart.org/online-conversation for the link.

Northampton Music Festival

Sunday 18 June 2017

Northampton Music Festival is taking over the town with nine stages and hundreds of musicians. NN is hosting a stage in the Courtyard and NN are taking over a stall at Northampton’s Market Square. RAFTSIDE, Filip Markiewicz’ alter ego, will be performing live at NN.


Daventry Arts Festival

Saturday 24 June 2017

NN are visiting Daventry Arts Festival, screening artist films and info stand about arts and opportunities in Northampton.

From Art to Commerce

Saturday 24 June 2017, 11 am

These monthly sessions, led by Tracey Clarke, are for anyone running a creative business or looking to start one. The first hour is a general workshop and the second hour consists of one-to-one short sessions. To book a one-to-one with Tracey please email Tracey@NNContemporaryArt.org. Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Late opening at NN & film screening at EFF:

Somers Town (dir. Shane Meadows)

Saturday 24 June 2017, 8:45 pm at Errol Flynn Filmhouse, NN1 1UD

NN is staying open late on 24 June until 8.45 pm so you can catch the exhibition before going to see Somers Town at the Errol Flynn Filmhouse. Somers Town shows an unlikely friendship between East Midlands runaway Tommo and Polish immigrant Marek over the course of a hot summer in London.

Tickets available soon from the Errol Flynn Filmhouse website.

Bumps & Babes

Thursday 29 June 2017, 2–3 pm

Thursday 27 July 2017, 2–3 pm

Get messy with your baby or pre-schooler in these crayon-fuelled, finger painting sessions. Make sure you wear clothes that can handle paint!

Acoustic Courtyard: open mic night

Thursday 29 June 2017, 8–10 pm

Come to NN’s Courtyard, bring your instrument and let’s have an acoustic evening in the open air.

Filip Markiewicz
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