“The Future Feels Like A Phantom Limb”

Steven Morgana

11.05.12 – 15.06.12

Australian-French artist Steven Morgana explores the contradictions and possibilities of entropy, of irreversible socio-ecological dissipation and disorder.

Morgana shares an interest with American artist Robert Smithson’s unexpected and thought-provoking experiments with entropy in the 1960s. Morgana approaches the subject similar to Smithson’s apocalyptic vision, but confronts the environmental concerns of today, such as global warming which transcends all environmentalist posturing and effects of human damage on earth. Anticipating this bleak future Morgana nevertheless casts an optimistic vision and a realistic approach, taking the form of often strikingly beautiful sculptural pieces to provide an insightful and timely commentary on issues of nature, energy, sustainability and their impact on the human culture.

His elaborate historical research, and cynical and activist attitude manifest themselves in “It Was All Ephemeral as a Rainbow”, a kind of atmospheric optical installation. In it, horizontal argon/neon lights embedded within a concave mirror reflect the image of a circular rainbow produced by a generator running on petrol. The presence of a generator and the work’s source of energy hint at the full life cycle of fossil fuels, from their geological source, to the point of consumption by society, through corporate networks of processing, transportation and distribution, and finally to disposal, resulting in entropy. The rainbow produced by an entropic generator running from non-renewable fossil-fuel can be seen as having emerged from deep beneath the Earth’s surface, where the geological becomes meteorologic, an ominous, but paradoxical phenomenon.

In “Talisman” corporate intervention takes a disturbing turn in a coloring book for children, titled Talisman Terry’s Energy Adventure. Released by US natural gas exploration company, Talisman Energy, the book has been widely distributed in schools across the US by leading children’s book publisher, Scholastic. In the book gas exploration is positioned as safe, the message delivered in child-friendly fashion, glossing over the environmental and economic controversies that have surrounded the activity. It is most ironic in pages illustrating the world before and after drilling, which are displayed in large scale for this exhibition. Before-drilling, the sky appears with only the sun and nondescript birds above a sylvan landscape. After-drilling though, the scene transforms to a more pastoral landscape with an eagle and, most sensationally, a rainbow. According to the colouring book’s narrative, the rainbow’s condition of appearance is founded upon the extraction of fossil-fuel from deep beneath the earth’s surface where geologic activity leads to a meteorologic phenomenon. Talisman Terry’s rainbow is nothing more than a symbol of corporate propoganda.

In “How Much Does Your Building Weigh?” a cardboard geodesic dome, referencing the works of Buckminster Fuller, is suspended off the floor and held in equilibrium with the waste resulting from its production. Hovering above the earth by the counterbalancing weight of its “entropy”, the dome is thus suspended in a state of nonfunctionality – in utopian tension with the material conditions and socio-ecological circumstances of the world at present.

Steven Morgana is based in London, currently completing his MFA at Goldsmiths College. Morgana received his BFA from Curtin University, Perth, Australia, part of which was studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. Recent exhibitions include: Out – Art from Goldsmiths, Ingenious Media Investment, London 2011-12; The Face of the Shape, La Scatola Gallery, London 2011; Anthology, Charlie Smith London Gallery, London, 2011; Citizen, Tactile Bosch, Cardiff 2010; Time in Our Head, La Générale, Paris, 2010; Artist Residency, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth, Australia 2010.

Steven Morgana is represented by La Scatola Gallery; “The Future Feels Like A Phantom Limb” is his first solo show in London.

Friday 11.05.12
6PM – 8.30PM

An exhibition curated by Valentina Fois.

The private view is sponsored by Peroni.

Private View 11.05.2012. Pictures by Raymond Cheung


“The Future Feels Like A Phantom Limb”, reviews

“The Future Feels Like A Phantom Limb” featured on Roves and Roams, a lovely review by Anna McNay.

“The Future Feels Like A Phantom Limb” featured on 1883 Magazine

‘The Future Feels Like a Phantom Limb’ on NEW PLACES IN JUNE featured on Pauls Art World

“The Future Feels Like A Phantom Limb”, Steven Morgana’s first solo show is in this month’s Top Five on First Thursday A Curator’s View: Steven Morgana, a rainbow after the storm on Jotta