Ambition is an interesting force. It is rewarded and romanticized in the abstract and punished in witnessed execution
– Mitchell Anderson
Mitchell Anderson (*1985, Chicago, USA) presents two pieces: Las Hilanderas (James D. Brady Briefing Room, White House, USA February 25, 2020) and Join (the resistance (NYCAntifa, c.2019)). Las Hilanderas is a screen-grab from The New York Times that depicts the moments before a presidential press conference. The video captures the anticipation of the conference attendees; however, the footage ends before POTUS speaks, leaving the scene unresolved. The artist invites us to “witness the witnesses”—namely journalists and the press—of what could be a significant historical moment and this looped video brings to mind a purgatory in which neither good news nor bad news will ever arrive. The title references Velasquez’s painting of the same name, which depicts two weavers in the act of weaving, a similar bearing witness to creation.
The second piece, Join (the resistance (NYCAntifa, c.2019)), 2020, is part of a series in which Anderson takes the word “join” from various posters in its original font and creates a neon light version. The posters the artist selects as source material are ideologically motivated (past examples include the word and font taken from a political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin with the caption “Join, or Die.” and a World War II Navy recruitment poster). The work’s emanating neon light is reminiscent of public space and public announcement, prompting questions on the dissemination of political persuasion and the relationship between ideology and symbols. The two works in combination take from the semiotics of mass media, advertisement and politics. What Anderson generates from these sources are signs without their original context, press conferences without news, exercises in deferred meaning.
Mitchell Anderson lives and works in Zürich, where he organizes the artist run space Plymouth Rock. Recent and upcoming institutional exhibitions include Kunsthalle Bern (2021); Kunsthalle Basel; Kunsthalle Zürich (2020); Fondazione Converso, Milan (2019); MAMCO, Geneva (2018); and Fri-Art Kunsthalle Fribourg (2017). He is a nominee for the Prix Mobilière 2021.