Morag Keil is a Scottish artist living and working in London, exhibiting internationally, both collaboratively and as a solo artist.
A unifying current in her lo-fi aesthetic is the concern to reflect life as lived: her recent ICA show offered an insightful and eloquent consideration of how a world increasingly mediated by technology and digital communication is impacting our day-to-day existence. Within many of the works in the exhibition, Keil appropriates and re-presents branding strategies to investigate and expose pervasive techniques for influencing consumerist desire. She also foregrounds and subverts the visual and aural strategies of computer gaming or commercial environments used to manipulate behaviour in ways premised on cliched notions of gender performance.
Keil’s installations have the bald efficiency of something bargain-bucket but workable. Tacky and scabby but made fashion. This amateurish construction — of clunky papier-mâché houses downtrodden with office heels, of a low-fi camera’s glitchy rove over motorbikes — actualizes her reflection of contemporaneity’s squashing and conditioning of subjectivity, as well as the interlocking of production and pleasure… Beneath the watermark of professionalism and propriety lies a cesspit of personal contradictions and anxiety-trimmed mediations (Flash Art). While Keil does not propose any firm notion of a 21st-century ethics, Civil War skillfully re-stages the act of crossing through digital and analogue worlds of relationships and representations, ultimately embodying the immaterial content of the struggle between the sexes – which persists despite the surface egalitarianism of polite society. (Freize) Keil’s work has repeatedly addressed the illusory freedoms of laptop-enabled self-employment and online life in general, whether you’re a knowledge worker, a celebrity or a Heat reader…her gadfly temperament would still be evident in her art’s rigorous antievangelism for what the modern world loves most: consumption, the bright digital abyss and the chimera, under these conditions, of You 2.0. (Art Review). It’s all a bit dwarfed by the space, shy and racked with doubt, and maybe it’s not immediately striking, but it’s almost painfully familiar. Keil’s work is a battle between our public and private selves, between looking at gossip sites and literary journals, between succeeding and failing, between capitalism and independence. It’s not necessarily hugely impressive, but it’s very, very real, and sometimes that’s enough. (Time Out on Moarg Keil)
Recent exhibitions: Moarg Keil (ICA London) Here We Go Again (Project Native Informant), Controllers (Jenny's Los Angeles), Masculinities (Dusseldorf), Digital Gothic (Delme) and Death LOLZ (London) (Death LOLZ, 2018).
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