SEARCH HISTORY - Mishka Henner

18th March to 22nd April
17th March 6-9pm

AirSpace Gallery presents a notable UK solo exhibition from acclaimed British/Belgian artist Mishka Henner. Nine years after first showing at AirSpace with his partner Liz Lock, Henner returns with Search History - an exhibition of new and existing works. In recent years, Henner has mined datasets and online archives to produce pointed critiques of the American military-industrial complex’s reach across the world, the impact of oil and gas infrastructure on the landscape, and the pervasive encroachment of camera technologies in everyday life. In Search History, Henner broadens his contemporary gaze, presenting a series of signs, symbols, and landscapes of the 21st century, focusing predominantly on British concerns and covering ideas of memory failure, oversight, truth and lies and more; a set of diverse contemporary themes and challenges we can’t ignore.

The Works (selection)

Searching for the Enemy (2017) is a playful children’s word search made ominous by the presence of terror groups that have risen to prominence during our early century’s War on Terror.

North Corridor, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC (2011) is taken from Henner’s Artefacts series, made on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 and shown here for the first time. The haunting image of Lynndie England dragging an Iraqi prisoner on a leash infiltrates the North Corridor of Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Airspace (2016) depicts restricted sections of UK airspace over areas used for weapons testing, laser calibration of satellites, and high intensity radio transmissions. The defined areas follow the Civil Aviation Authority’s strict coordinate guidelines for pilots and points to the extent to which the British landscape is populated by military and geospatial infrastructure.

Royal Subject (2017) presents a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II marked by the artist’s gaze.

Atlantis Chaos (2017) is a Chinese map of Britain juxtaposed over a Martian desert landscape captured by European imaging satellites orbiting the red planet.

A Bullet in the Heart, 1944 (2016) is the final film still of an Egyptian drama engraved by stonemasons in Salford into a slab of Cosmic Black granite originating from the Fujian province of China. The film tells the story of a man refusing to run away with a woman engaged to his friend. In the end, friendship triumphs over adultery.

Via Rigosa, Bologna, Italy (2011) is from Henner’s No Man’s Land (2011-2013) series, showing isolated women occupying remote roadsides across Spain and Italy, captured from the roving eyes of Google’s Street View cameras.

IMG_01 (2014) presents the code of a photograph taken by Frank Hurley on the 29 October 1917. The picture shows five Australians, members of a field artillery brigade, passing along a duckboard track over mud and water among gaunt bare tree trunks in the devastated Chateau Wood, a portion of one of the battlegrounds in the Ypres salient. All the identified men in this group served in 4th Australian Division artillery units. The last man in the group is unknown. This single photograph is shown in two of its present day manifestations; A silver gelatin print and the digital code that allows it to be read by electronic devices.

Soundtrack #1 (2017) presents a painted subtitle taken from the 1954 film adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm, moments after the animals chase away the owner, Mr Jones, and take over Manor Farm.

Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas (2012) is a high-resolution satellite image capturing a detail of an industrial feedlot handling over 60,000 cattle at any one time. Feedlots are facilities used by farmers to speed up the growth of their cattle and are essential to the beef industry in the US. 97% of all beef consumed in the US will have passed through an industrial feedlot. Until recently, a number of states enacted laws making the photographing of these sites illegal due to the industry being afraid of animal rights activists and consumer groups drawing attention to the existence of feedlots.

How to Write the Truth (2017), How to Write Lies (2017). After seeing his five-year-old daughter's writing exercises at school, the artist was moved to learn how to write two eternal concepts at the heart of our condition.

clockwise from top left: Airspace, 2016, How to Write Lies / How to Write the Truth, 2017, Atlantis Chaos, 2017, Search for the Enemy, 2017, You're Only Chance to Survive, 1997-2017, Plot 3 from Royal Subject, 2017

UK/Belgian artist, Mishka Henner, was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Art and shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2013. Shortlisted for the Prix Pictet in 2014. Recipient of the Kleine Hans award in 2011. Works held in the Tate Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, the Centre Pompidou, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Portland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Exhibited internationally in numerous group shows and surveys. Member of the ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative. Mishka lives and works in Manchester, UK. and is represented in London by Carroll/Fletcher Gallery and in New York by Bruce Silverstein Gallery.



The Artist Soup Kitchen
Imagining Agency with Richard Grayson
25th March, 2017 5pm-7pm

Artist, curator and writer, Richard Grayson, draws out from themes present in Search History in the next installment of our critical engagement sessions. Grayson, whose practice focuses on narrative and the visual arts, belief systems and material expression, and the ways cultural practices allow translation between the subjective and social/political realms, offers us the idea that Experimental, Progressive and Radical visual art practices had the idea of some sort of agency at its heart. What is the agency? Who has the agency? How do artists nd their agency? And how might this play out in a world of consumerism and click-bait?

For Tickets please click here

Richard Grayson is an artist, curator and writer currently based in London, UK. Widely exhibited across the world, and widely published, Richard
was a founder member of The Basement Group 1979-1984 Newcastle upon Tyne, a pioneering artists collective that made and represented time-based and performance practice. He is the Bartlett Research Fellow in the Department of Fine Art at Newcastle University and a Visiting Tutor at Ruskin School, University of Oxford and is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London and Yuill|Crowley, Sydney.

State of Affairs
Saturday April 15th, 2017 6pm-10pm The Resource Room
As part of Your City, a brand new Music Festival in Stoke-on-Trent, AirSpace hosts this special evening of open mic Spoken Word. In our constantly moving, ever changing, devolving socio-techno-political world, participants are invited to address the current state of local, national, global and universal affairs, in an attempt to make sense of things, through readings, poetry and prose.
For more details see or the AirSpace Gallery website.

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AirSpace's first major exhibition of 2017 sees acclaimed artist Mishka Henner present a series of new works exploring a series of diverse themes and challenges confronting the world today. Memory failure, oversight, truth and lies; A collection of signs, symbols, and landscapes of the 21st century.

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AirSpace Gallery is a collaborative, artist led project in Stoke-on-Trent, providing professional development opportunities, studio and exhibiting space and support for artists.

Through a dynamic and evolving programme of exhibitions, events and activities AirSpace Gallery brings critical, high quality contemporary art to the region and provides opportunities for a broad range of artists.

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