Adam Chodzko’s art explores the interactions and possibilities of human behaviour. Working across media, from video installation to subtle interventions, with a practice that is situated both within the gallery and the wider public realm, his work investigates and invents the possibilities of collective imagination through using a poetics of everyday life. By wondering how, through the visual, we might best engage with the existence of others he reveals the realities that emerge from the search for this knowledge.
Chodzko’s art proposes new relationships between our value and belief systems, exploring their effect on our communal and private spaces and the documents and fictions that control, describe and guide them. Working directly with the networks of people and places that surround him, often using forms of anthropology, Chodzko focuses on the relational politics of culture’s edges, endings, displacements, transitions and disappearances through a provocative looking in the ‘wrong’ place; a search for knowledge through instability. His art is catalysed by imagining a collapse of the category of Art, requiring not only a new audience but also a new status for the art object. Chodzko’s practice operates in the tight, poetic spaces he evolves between documentary and fantasy, conceptualism and surrealism, and public and private space, often engaging reflexively and directly with the role of the viewer.
Born in 1965. Lives and works in Whitstable, Kent, UK. Since 1991 Chodzko has exhibited extensively in international solo and group exhibitions including: Tate, St Ives; Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (MAMBo); Athens Biennale, Istanbul Biennale, Venice Biennale; Royal Academy, London; Deste Foundation, Athens; PS1, NY; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Kunstmuseum Luzern etc. Recent projects include commissions by Creative Time, New York, The Contemporary Art Society, Frieze Art Fair, and Hayward Gallery.
In 2002 he received awards from the Hamlyn Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Art, New York, and in 2007 was awarded an AHRC Research Fellowship in the Film Department at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
Knots 2013 (2012, 8’05”)
In Knots, Adam Chodzko focuses on the remote but important relationship between the artist Kurt Schwitters, in the final years of his life in the late 1940’s, living in poverty and exile in England’s Lake District, and J. Edgar Kaufmann, the wealthy owner of the Kaufman Department Store in Pittsburgh, USA.
Kaufmann had arranged for money to be wired to Schwitters so that he could develop a new Merz structure. Chodzko plays with the desire to conclude and tie up the loose and disparate ends of this narrative. He imagines the now empty Merzbarn (Schwitters final work having been removed to a Newcastle museum in 1965) as a vacuum, sucking in thoughts, desires and matter; all caught up in the vortex of a dream-like surreality.
Kaufmann had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design his Pittsburgh office, a structure that itself was also later displaced from its source when donated to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Chodzko sees the interior spaces that Schwitters and Kaufmann worked within as unstable, flowing, collaged together, as though becoming a Merz themselves, whilst the form of the video also echoes this process of construction and deconstruction.
Knots is a mesmerising combination of fact and fiction, text and moving image building a story about longing, creation and fragmentation, endings and beginnings, networks of people and isolated individuals, separations and notions of home.