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Mikhail Karikis: For Many Voices
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Above: Mikhail Karikis, No Ordinary Protest, 2018. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Supported by Arts Council England.
Above: Mikhail Karikis, No Ordinary Protest, 2018. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Supported by Arts Council England.
October 12, 2019–February 23, 2020

Study Day: February 15, 2020, with special guests

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Centre Square
Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ
United Kingdom

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“Listening is not a passive experience. Listening is an action. When I listen, I direct my attention to another. When I listen, the ‘I’ becomes a ‘we’. In this respect, listening is relational and generates a common space – the listening space. This holds the potential to spirit new formations of social solidarity.”
Mikhail Karikis

The first survey of the important work of artist Mikhail Karikis opens at MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, on October 12. For Many Voices includes five significant bodies of work made across ten years, with two works commissioned by MIMA. MIMA puts art into action to generate spaces of dialogue and connect people with differing perspectives. Karikis’ exhibition is an arena for listening in a time of change.

Working closely with people and employing listening as a form of activism, Karikis amplifies the voices of those who may be unheard or unseen. For over ten years he has charted changes in labour and the structures in society. Through close readings of land and environment, Karikis explores the impact of industrial and ecological change. The artist is fascinated by the potency and power of collective noise-making. In each of his major bodies of work, he experiments with new techniques and different approaches to uncover relationships between the voice and place.

Karikis develops extensive collaborations with communities who may be pushed into economic and socio-geographic fringes. The installations in this exhibition form audio and visual portraits of a range of people in contrasting settings. They include elder ‘sea women’ in South Korea; ex-coal miners from Kent; young people living near a geothermal power plant in Italy; teenagers on the Isle of Grain, Kent; and school children in East London and Middlesbrough. The resulting works show the social dynamics of these communities with attention, dignity and tenderness.

Through Karikis’ work people imagine possible, probable or desired futures. In recent years the artist has collaborated with young people to explore inherited legacies, including narratives of techno-dystopias, ecological injustice and economic recession. In 2019, he began a new collaboration with students at North Ormesby Primary Academy, Middlesbrough in which they explored the impact of pesticides on ecosystems.

This commission builds on No Ordinary Protest, 2018, made with school children in East London, (commissioned by MIMA, Film and Video Umbrella and Whitechapel Gallery) which uses the transformative power of communal noisemaking to think about the importance of democratic assembly. Developed through an eco-feminist lens, both works mark a moment in which children across the globe are galvanising to demand that we take responsibility for the future of the planet.

Over the past decade, Karikis has shifted how he works, from creating a space in which others participate, to one in which his collaborators become co-producers. This survey offers an opportunity to attend to the nuanced changes in the artist’s practice and the politics that his approach embodies. While Karikis’ work is exhibited across the world, this is his first survey exhibition and his largest solo show to date.

Karikis is short-listed for the 2019 Film London Jarman Award with No Ordinary Protest, 2018 (commissioned by MIMA, Film and Video Umbrella and Whitechapel Gallery).

An essay by curator, writer and lecturer Katerina Gregos, offers in-depth analysis of Karikis’ work.

A Study Day, on Saturday February 15, brings special guests together to offer insights into the exhibition.

MIMA’s 2019 programme is dedicated to engaging with environmental concerns as a way of surfacing new ways of working and building new relationships for the future. We remain committed to playing a role as cultural agents in this urgent agenda with so much at stake globally.

MIMA’s 2019 programme is dedicated to engaging with environmental concerns as a way of surfacing new ways of working and building new relationships for the future. We remain committed to playing a role as cultural agents in this urgent agenda with so much at stake globally.

October 11, 2019

location

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough