CAREY YOUNG: MEMENTO PARK - a touring solo show

 Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK
27 November – 29 January 2011
Launch: 6-9pm Friday 26 November 2010

Eastside Projects proudly presents the debut of Memento Park, a major touring solo show by Carey Young commissioned in conjunction with Cornerhouse, Manchester and mima, Middlesbrough. A new video commission, Memento Park(2010), is central to the exhibition, which surveys a decade of the artist’s practice, including a number of key video works and recent photographic, text and telephone works.

Carey Young’s celebrated and pioneering work focuses on the interconnections between economic systems, legal language and contemporary culture. Using a variety of media and settings she often uses found tools, language and training processes from the worlds of the multinational corporation and global law firm, altering them to create fictional and absurd scenarios which explore notions of performance, autonomy, criticality and imagination. Positioning herself as an insider to these predominant systems, she takes a stance between complicity and resistance as she criticizes them playfully through the use of their own methods and language.

Key to the exhibition, Memento Park was shot in a statue park in Budapest containing a large collection of monumental, socialist realist Soviet statues in poses of ‘suspended animation’. We see the figures surrounded by bustling contemporary life passing by outside the park, which undercuts the statues' historical importance and impressive physical impact by giving them a provisional, peripheral context reminiscent of the works of the late post-minimal artist Robert Smithson. Nevertheless, the seductive lushness of the surrounding greenery, shot mainly at the beginning and end of the day, gives these icons of propaganda a strange and beautiful serenity, as if we are witnessing the dusk and dawn of an idyll. This subtle and nuanced new work expands and laterally shifts the focus of Young’s ongoing interests in performance, politics and rhetoric.

Many of the recent works have not been seen in the UK before, including a new image from the artist’s Redshift series (2010), a series of cameraless photographs created in the darkroom by exposing light through translucent meteorite fragments as if they were photographic negatives, presented with a text relating to experimental ideas in copyright; and Obsidian Contract (2010), a legal text proposing the exhibition space as a new area of publicly-owned land via a reversed text reflected in a black mirror, a device which has a long tradition within witchcraft and the occult in many cultures, and is also associated with the Romantic landscape tradition in painting. The telephone work Follow the Protest(2009) centres on the idea of ‘protest on demand’ and features sound recordings from the 2009 G20 protests.

Eastside Projects has been altered to form three cinema rooms housing the videosMemento Park (2010), Uncertain Contract (2009) and Product Recall (2007). The rooms reform gallery space through a sequence of finished and unclad stud walls providing spaces for monitor based video works Terms & Conditions (2004), I Am A Revolutionary (2001), and Everything You’ve Heard is Wrong (1999) and works from the photographic series Body Techniques (2007). Three further text works complete the exhibition, including a new version of Inventory (2007), which declares the current total value of the chemical elements that make up the artist’s body on the exterior billboard of Eastside Projects.

A new major monographic publication will accompany the exhibition, with texts by Jennifer Allen, Raimundas Malasauskas and Jill Magid and Carey Young.  Memento Park tours to Cornerhouse, Manchester (4 Feb – 20 March 2011) and mima, Middlesbrough (31 March – 10 July 2011). Each venue will present a different selection of works by the artist, allowing a variety of themes to emerge across her diverse and ambitious practice.


Carey Young (b. 1970, Lusaka, Zambia. Lives and works in London.) Recent one-person exhibitions include The Power Plant, Toronto and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, (both 2009); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2010, 2007);  with works also presented at Taipei Biennial (2010), Tate Britain (2009), Moscow Biennale (2007), Modern Art Oxford (2007) and Performa 05, New York (2005). She is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Eastside Projects   86 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham, B9 4AR, UK
Contact 0121-771-1778
Free Entry: Open Thursday 12-6.30pm, Friday to Saturday 12-5pm (closed 19 Dec – 5 Jan)

Eastside Projects is a not for profit company Limited by guarantee reg: 6402007, in partnership with Birmingham City University and Revenue Funded by Arts Council England West Midlands, with further support from Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund,Business Link West Midlands & Future Job Fund.

Carey Young received developmental funding for the video commission Memento Park from London College of Communication and The University of the Arts Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN.)