In Two Minds x 3
An exhibition of works by Kevin Atherton
Kevin Atherton’s exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast brings together, for the first time in the same space, all three versions of his video journey In Two Minds.
The work, which was originally presented as a two monitor video installation at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1978, was re-entered by Atherton in 2006 when he produced two additional versions of the work.
Part of a generation that pioneered video and performance art in Britain in the 1970s and early 1980s, Atherton (Manx, b. 1950) has performed a number of pieces that adapt the structure of the press interview or the Q&A session of the artist talk. The work, In Two Minds—Past Version (1978/2006), updates a piece done in 1978 by substituting a new set of answers. In this 2006 version, Atherton responds to the amusingly antagonistic questions posed to him by his twenty-seven-year-old self. The questions are about the work itself and concern the effectiveness of his idea—as well as the effectiveness of idea-based art in general. Frustrated, present-day Atherton not only justifies his intentions in creating a piece based on an internal dialogue, but also explains how the terms of the debate have changed, and how the piece has become more about life than just art. The work reveals not only how video art has technically changed in the interim, but also how the perception of video art has changed over the years, as it has become ubiquitous in contemporary art.
- ‘In Two Minds – The Original Version’ as an installation consisted of two video recordings of Atherton, made the same day and then shown on monitors at the Serpentine Gallery, in London, in 1978.
- ‘In Two Minds – Past Version’ 1978-2006. Although the piece, at the time, was considered finished, the open structure of the work allowed him to “reenter” it almost thirty years later, by answering the questions put to him by his 27 year old self as 56 year old man. The resulting work (two facing video projections) received its U.S. premiere in the exhibition ‘The Studio Dialogues’ at the Museum of Modern Art San Francisco in 2009. In addition, Atherton has enacted In Two Minds as a live video performance at Tate Britain in 2006 and FACT Liverpool in 2007.
- In Two Minds – Future Version’ 2006-2031 The final installation is a conversation between Atherton at 56 talking with his ‘virtual’ 81 year old self. Here Atherton discusses imagined artworks and events yet to occur.