STEVENSON is pleased to present Go Away Mitchell, a solo exhibition by Mitchell Gilbert Messina.
The show reimagines video art for a time when attention spans have shrunk and the moving image has largely migrated online. In particular, it pays tribute to YouTube autoplay feature, introduced around 2010, which automatically loads a next video after one is done playing. Autoplay was specifically designed to encourage binge watching, and has been copied by Netflix and other purveyors of streaming video. The exhibition takes the form of an imaginary, absurdist, seemingly endless YouTube playlist of short videos by Messina, shown in a makeshift apartment cinema.
The videos span the scope of Messina’s practice, from deeply personal and sincere animated poems, to bizarre scenarios like talking smoke signals, and send-ups of works from video art’s canon. Messina explains his current preoccupations in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist:
MGM: At the moment, my work has moved from joke sculptures to joke gestures. Do I remember correctly that you saw Fischli/Weiss film Der Lauf Der Dinge in their studio?
HUO: It changed my life.
MGM: And it was you interviewing Olafur Eliasson with the duffel bag he dumped into the river, right?
HUO: It was. So you are interested in such actions?
MGM: Absolutely. I have been wanting to make more videos, so I thought let’s do the basics, the stupidest lowest level of humour, which is gag humour: slipping, falling, breaking things.
Inspired in equal parts by Fischli/Weiss, Richard Pryor, Buster Keaton, Donald Barthelme, Maurizio Cattelan and Griffin McElroy, Messina selfishly makes the video art he wants to see, and generously invites his audience to dive down the click hole with him.
Messina was born in 1991 and graduated from Michaelis with a BAFA in 2013. He is the art director of Adjective magazine (adjective.online), and lives and works in Paarl. Messina previously exhibited at Stevenson as part of the RAMP series, and in 2015 he was included in Filter Bubble, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets at the LUMA Foundation’s Westbau in Zürich. In July he will start a Pro Helvetia residency with Atelier Mondial in Basel.
Messina's exhibition runs alongside You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down by Jody Brand and Restless Republic by Penny Siopis.
The exhibitions open on Thursday 8 June, 6 to 8pm. Messina will give a walkabout of the exhibition on Saturday 17 June at 11am. Entrance is free and all are welcome.