Gerard Byrne: A State of Neutral Pleasure

Whitechapel Gallery

17 January – 8 March 2013

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An artist who re-enacts the past to understand the present, Gerard Byrne’s film installations take historical cultural moments from the past 100 years and re-presents them for today.

Back in 2002, Byrne was critically acclaimed for a video piece called ‘New Sexual Lifestyles’ in which he re-staged a debate first published in Playboy magazine in 1973. What the film exposed was not just the cultural changes in attitude towards sex, but also how pertinently these debates rage 30 years later and how the advent of AIDS has significantly re-addressed our notions of sexual freedom.

Since then, Byrne has continued to plunder old writings, including a 1963 symposium of Science Fiction writers featuring Ray Bradbury, who ruminated on what the world would be like post 1984. It revealed how little the world has changed in comparison to the visions of these ambitious fantasists.

Don't miss

The premier of 'A man and a woman make love', 2012. A multi-screen installation that reinterprets discussions about sexuality and eroticism held in the 1920s by the Surrealist group of artists and writers, including André Breton, Jacques Prévert and Yves Tanguy.

A photographic series called ‘A country road. A tree. Evening’, 2006, Byrne’s attempts to find the bleak stretch of roadside where Samuel Beckett set ‘Waiting for Godot’.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sun, 11am – 6pm (Thu until 9pm)
Closed 24 – 26 Dec

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)