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Langlands & Bell

Internet Giants : Masters of the Universe

21 March — 10 June 2018

Free Audio tour

Ikon presents an exhibition of new work by British artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell, marking the 40th year of their artistic partnership which started in 1978 while studying Fine Art at Middlesex Polytechnic, London.

Featuring the new iconic architecture of the global technology companies such as Apple, Facebook, Alibaba and Google, the exhibition includes a new series of relief sculptures, installations, digital animations and portraits that explore the increasingly profound influence they have on our lives in the age of ‘Big Data’.

At first sight the futuristic appearances of the new headquarters of the internet giants characterise the digital age, yet the designs often rely for their impact and power on ancient typologies. Will the new Apple Headquarters in California designed by Norman Foster – a vast circular building nicknamed “The Spaceship” – rival the Colosseum or Stonehenge?

The artist-duo often work from plans and architectural drawings they research online – including buildings that are yet to be completed. A new Ikon commission, Google, Charleston East (2018) is a huge model of Google’s new global HQ under construction at Mountain View in California.

A monumental new wall painting, Your Thoughts Construct Patterns Like Scaffolding In Your Mind (2018), is based on a quote by Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, and is produced in collaboration with Birmingham based street artist Dan Newso. The exhibition also includes a series of portraits of the ‘Masters of the Universe’, founders and CEOs of the Internet Giants including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin and Steve Jobs appearing as religious icons for the digital age accompanied by their own words: “I’m trying to make the world a more open place” (Mark Zuckerberg).

The exhibition is accompanied by a new signed artists’ print, Apple, Sunny Vale (2018), limited edition of 40, priced £200 and a fully illustrated catalogue, with an essay by historian and critic Professor Anthony Vidler and an interview with the artists by Dr Hans-Michael Herzog.

Internet Giants : Masters of the Universe is supported by Glenn Howells Architects

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