14 December 2013 – 25 January 2014
Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam is very proud to host Kennedy Browne, the collaborative practice of Gareth Kennedy (b.1979) and Sarah Browne (b. 1981) with their exhibition The Myth of the Many in the One. Both artists are based in Ireland and constitute an artistic collaboration, as well as maintaining solo practices. The exhibition consists of two intertwined works: The Wonder Years, 2013, an installation of objects with text, and The Myth of the Many in the One, 2012, a nineteen minute film.
Both works draw on extensive research into the business biographies of visionary tech leaders with a special relationship to Silicon Valley, California: men such as Bob Noyce, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Through the depictions of these men, in this niche area of publishing, a persistent narrative of paternal entrepreneurial genius emerges. Kennedy Browne attempts to decode the constructed myths surrounding such messiah figures – at the intersection of capitalism and technology – by returning to stories told of their formative boyhood years, until the age of eleven.
The Myth of the Many in the One is crafted through Kennedy Browne's distinctive process of redaction; compressing an extensive catalogue of anecdotal and biographical material gleaned from the biographies and crafting it into a single, complex narrative. The two key spaces represented in the film are a green-screen studio set and a pre-Silicon Valley peach orchard, each evocative in their own way of 'origin myths'. These locations form a significant mental and emotional backdrop to the central performances in the film by a precocious child actor and a voice-over artist. The boy in the film is an avatar, an incarnation of the redacted text. He also performs a Biblical recitation for his own ends.
The Wonder Years is a collection of objects of critical significance to the childhood years of the boy avatar in the film. These objects include: Dave Packard’s pipe bomb and Bill Hewlet's brass doorknob grenade from 1923 and 1924; Bill Gates’ rocking horse from 1956; and Mark Zuckerberg’s bar mitzvah light sabre from 1997. These artefacts were carefully reconstructed, primarily using resources such as online fabrication services and auction sites. They are then displayed together as relics related to the genesis of the digital age.
Recent solo exhibitions by Kennedy Browne include How Capital Moves, Limerick City Gallery of Art Offsite (2011) and 167 at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2010). Group exhibitions include Liquid Assets at the 2013 Steirisher Herbst Festival in Graz, Austria; Upending at Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland; CAMP, at AGORA, the 4th Athens Biennale, Athens, Greece; KAPTIAL, the Bern Biennial, Switzerland; Seeking Silicon Valley, Zero1 Biennial, San Jose, USA; the touring exhibition The United States of Europe (all 2012); L'Exposition Lunatique, Kadist Foundation, Paris, and the Lodz Biennale, Poland (all 2010). In 2009 Kennedy Browne co-represented Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale along with their solo practices.
The Myth of the Many in the One was produced with funding from the Arts Council / An Comhairle Ealaíon and supported by the Kadist Foundation, San Francisco. The Wonder Years was commissioned for Liquid Assets as part of the 2013 Steirischer Herbst festival in Graz, curated by Katerina Gregos and Luigi Fassi.