First Look: HEALTH by Majed Aslam

The new group show inquires into the physiology of images and their constantly changing states

Joel Beach Jonnie Chambers

Curated by mixed media artist, RCA graduate and RE-RUN co-curator Majed Aslam, the new group exhibition titled 'Health', employs the term loosely in exploring the abstract notion of static images in a consciousness of their own. The images portray the present reality in which they inhabit, constantly metamorphosing to renegotiate the terms of their own configuration in order to remain 'healthy'.

Featuring the widely-varying artists Kari Altmann, Joel Beach, Samuel Fouracre and Marlie Mul, the show explores 'what is lost and what is gained... and also what gets left behind as part of the process'. Stipulating that the images maneuver between reference points, whilst remaining porous to the changes in their environment and their own 'physiology', 'Health' faces the overlap between objects in reality and those in the non-physical world. Here we speak to Aslam about the ideas behind the curation ahead of the show at East London-based gallery, Twelve Around One.

Dazed Digital: Tell us about the role of 'Health' in the curation of this exhibition?

Majed Aslam: There's a literal interpretation, which I'm not trying to completely avoid, but I was interested in the idea that an image can be inherently 'healthy'. Which is to say that something about its origins or its making which retains qualities that allow it to propagate, or distinguish itself from the swarm. Healthy enough to reconfigure itself many times over and still produce some effect.

DD: How did the idea first come about?

Majed Aslam: It's something which I'm interested in with my own work.  I talked with Gabor and Nick from Twelve Around One, and we seemed to hit upon a thread that was present in some of the works we’d all been looking at lately.  All we had to do then was try and coax it out somehow.


DD: Have elements of conventional video games influenced the show or is that a mere tangent?

Majed Aslam: I honestly didn't make that connection until pretty late on. I like it though. In that context sometimes the word ‘health’ would be interchangeable with ‘energy’, and ‘power’. I like that these words are used to deceive in a sense. You don't really die from lack of health or energy like in games, and yet you know what that’s meant to denote and it may true of images also.


DD: Who are the artists involved in the group show and how did you pick them?

Majed Aslam: Joel (Beach) I showed with earlier in the year and his work became sort of pivotal with this show. I was initially trying to revolve work around his. I was in Samuel (Fouracre)’s studio around the same time and saw this connection develop between a sketch of a video he was making and what Joel was doing. Warping images, and watching to see if they stand up to the stress of a new context.  They’re both very different of course as artists but the shared space is an interesting one.

Kari (Altmann)'s work I've followed for a while, her website is fascinating and I remember seeing an image on there which stuck with me. I emailed her to ask what it was and she was taking about a process of distilling an image down. It just seemed perfect. So we started on a process of making another version of her work for this show.
 Marlie (Mul)'s work is just amazing. I can't say enough about how much I like it and how much it constantly surprises me. To me her wall-based vent sculptures take the inherent properties of a thing and re-apply those to environments, moments, situations, and asks why people are attracted to anything in the first place. It talks of sites for information exchange and the idea that objects can become palimpsests. It's really seductive.

Preview: November 30th: 6.00 - 9.30. December 1st - 9th | Open 12.00 - 6.00 daily. Twelve Around One. 33a Shacklewell Street, London, E2 7EG

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