in Frieze London | 02 OCT 23

Marina Xenofontos’s Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize Exhibition

Selected from the Focus section at Frieze London 2022, Xenofontos presents ‘Public Doman’, which interrogates the relationship between the physical and the virtual for her first UK solo show

in Frieze London | 02 OCT 23

As recipient of the 2022 Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze, Marina Xenofontos has had the opportunity to create an ambitious new solo show at Camden Art Centre this autumn, from 6 October to 31 December. 

The Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze selects an artist from the Focus section at Frieze London, offering the opportunity to deliver their first institutional solo exhibition in London. The prize offers exposure to emerging artists as well as invaluable curatiorial support from the CAC team. Previous winners of the prize include Wong Ping (2018), Julien Creuzet (2019) and Tenant Of Culture (2020).

‘Public Domain’ expands Xenofontos’s interrogation of how cultural materials and objects mediate modern social relations and embody lived experience. Centred around a tension between real and virtual worlds, the show is conceived as a series of material gestures that activate personal and collective memories. Xenofontos removes mass-produced objects from their undifferentiated realm of circulation and invests them with personal significance. 

Class Memorial, a large aluminium security door imported from Cyprus, marks the entrance to one of Camden Art Centre’s galleries. These silver and gold anodized doors were commonly found in working-class neighbourhoods from the late 1970s and onwards. Once symbolizing middle-class aspirations of wealth and class mobility, they lost their status in the span of two decades. Class Memorial evokes the cyclical failure of symbols of promise. 

Another highlight of the exhibition is King, oh King, with your 12 swords! What work do you have for us today? Laziness, the King demands, and the children all reply, Let’s get to work!, a kinetic sculpture reaching from floor to ceiling, comprised of two bronze-cast, silver-plated columns rotating in opposite directions. Cast from wooden walking canes stacked end to end, their form recalls the sticks that Xenofontos’s grandfather used to make. As they rotate, they almost come close enough to touch, before edging back. This perpetual motion points to modesty, not spectacle. 

In Camden Art Centre’s Reading Room, Xenofontos installs Evacuation Plan, an ongoing series that takes its form from institutional maps and plans used to evacuate schools, public offices and apartment blocks. Images of the artist’s body, taken in 2005, span across their surfaces and sensors trigger lights to illuminate in sequences, suggesting possible routes for escape. 

Xenofontos overlays the anecdotal and the monumental, the material and the digital. This latest commission embodies the sensation of living simultaneously in physical and virtual spaces, past and present, images and memories. 

As part of Camden Art Centre’s Public Programming, Xenofontos launches the video game Twice Upon a While. Over the last four years, Xenofontos has been world-building in the virtual realm, creating a digital avatar named Twice who has appeared in sculptural form in various previous works, including in the artist’s presentation by Hot Wheels at Frieze London 2022. This major new work will be showcased at a special event in November, situating the game as a counterpoint to exhibition’s material sensibility. 

Marina Xenofontos

Marina Xenofontos (b.1988, Limassol, Cyprus) lives and works in Athens, Greece. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘In Practice’, SculptureCenter, New York (2023); ‘failed cache’, Hot Wheels Athens (2023); ‘Safe Spaces’, Ermes Ermes, Rome (2022); ‘Certain Character Index’, A Maior, Viseu (2022); Frieze London, with Hot Wheels Athens, London (2022); ‘Carousel’, AKWA IBOM, Athens (2022); ‘I heard that there are many things in life that we can go beyond’, La Plage, Paris (2022); ‘I don’t sleep, I dream’, The Island Club, Limassol (2021). Her work has been exhibited at Eva Presenhuber Gallery, Zurich; Sweetwater, Berlin; Phenomenon Biennale, Anafi; Scheusal, Berlin; Sala Impasti, Milan; Charim Gallery, Vienna; gb agency, Paris; and Deste Foundation, among others. Xenofontos is represented by Hot Wheels Athens and was one of the founding members of the collective and artist-run project space Neoterismoi Toumazou. 

Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze 

The Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze returns for 2023 and is generously supported by a significant group of international collectors, including lead supporters Alexandra Economou and Noach Vander Beken, and prize supporters Nicola & Julian Blake, Anne-Pierre d’Albis, Suling Mead, Batia Ofer, Ralph Segreti, Ronald & Sophie Sofer, Alma Zevi, and Indira Ziyabek.

Main Image: Marina Xenofontos, Twice upon a while, 2020. MDF wood, metal, mirror, 1.5 x 1.4 x 2 m. Courtesy the artist and Hot Wheels, Athens