de Appel, Schipluidenlaan 12, Amsterdam

Opening 4th October 17.00-20.00

Exhibition¬†hours Wednesday to¬†Saturday,¬†14.00 ‚Äď 18.00

This solo exhibition--the first by the artist in the Netherlands--presents recent works that contend with concepts of utopia and dystopia through observation and sensation. Good Luck (2017), stages Russell‚Äôs structural, vibrant, and multi-sensory approach to ethnographic cinema in fragmented physical space‚ÄĒoffering a dynamic comparative portrait of natural resource excavation. The film captures extraction in two different parts of the world, often focusing in on the faces, movements, and gestures of men who do the back-breaking work. One section takes place in an underground state-owned industrial copper mine in Bor, Serbia, and the other portrays an illegal gold mine in the jungle of the Brokopondo District in Suriname.


In Serbia, the jarring noise of exploding rock acts as an ever-present backdrop for conversations with mine workers;¬†in Surinam the machinic sounds of above-ground extraction mix with field sounds from the ¬†surrounding jungle. These pieces are counter-posed by a single channel featuring silent and black-and-white portraits, and a series of patiently captured interviews.¬† Together the parts form a synthesis of contemporary¬†labor,¬†masculinity, and material and social precarity in these typically concealed environments, joining them together in what Russell calls ‚Äúthe human foundation of capital.‚ÄĚ This presentation¬†foregrounds the phenomenological attributes of the piece, placing the viewer‚Äôs physicality in relation to the film‚Äôs portraiture, and highlighting the effects of haptic sound on experience. Accompanying the installation,¬†the artist has created a sculptural analogue to process and portraiture,¬†Good Luck (Echo)¬†that turns a sheet of copper into a resonant, speaking subject.
IT IS HERE/THIS WILL LAST FOREVER also features Russell’s short film, Atlantis (2014). Shot on the island of Malta, the film unfolds in a series of staged and observational sequences, with references to Plato, science fiction, and Thomas More’s Utopia. These are set to a complex soundtrack mixing a live-recorded folk ensemble, a marching band, noise music, and other found sounds. Through these elements, the film presents itself as an unorthodox documentary of a mythical place, and one take on everyday utopia. The two filmic works join to constellate an imperfect picture of living dystopias and imagined utopias, rendering our current world a place beyond the reach of myth, and searching for deep real and imaginary change.
Ben Russell‚Äės¬†work operates in direct conversation with the history of the documentary image, ¬†and explores the intersection between psychedelia and ethnography.¬† He was an exhibiting artist in documenta 14 (2017), and his work has been presented at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum for Contemporary Art Chicago, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the New York Film Festival. Russell is the recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a FIPRESCI International Critics Prize (IFFR 2009) for his first feature film Let Each One Go Where He May. His second feature film, A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness(co-directed with Ben Rivers), premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2013. Curatorial projects include Magic Lantern (Providence, USA, 2005-2007), BEN RUSSELL (Chicago, USA, 2009-2011), and Hallucinations (Athens, Greece, 2017). He currently resides in Los Angeles.
This exhibition is part of de Appel’s Autumn 2018 programme, 3 MOVEMENTS, a sequence of exhibitions and events that focuses on music as a discipline and considers the element of sound across a range of artistic practices. 3 Movements consists of two consecutive exhibitions, featuring artists Ben Russell and Evan Ifekoya, a performance/lecture by Terre Thaemlitz alias DJ Sprinkles, and other related programmes, and is curated by Rachael Rakes and Niels Van Tomme.  
See also: ( 3 MOVEMENTS ) ( Crying in the Club: A Night with DJ Sprinkles ) ( A Score, A Groove, A Congregation )
Press Kit: ( Download Press Kit Here )
Press: ( de Filmkrant by Edo Dijksterhuis ) ( Metropolis M by George Vermij )