press release

Stretching and morphing - an elasticising - of ideas, forms and sounds, links the otherwise disparate practices of Thomas Bayrle, Ann Lislegaard and the activist sound collective Ultra-red. Objects, films and sound works by Bayrle and Lislegaard, and material produced in workshops during Ultra-red's residency here will be brought together for Raven Row's second exhibition.

Thomas Bayrle has been working since the mid-sixties and is now recognized as key to a European kind of Pop Art. This will be his first exhibition in the UK of sculptural work that uses the metaphor of the highway to characterize a state of modernity where we are 'racing to stand still'. Highways are imagined as the anaemic arteries of our culture, and in one giant work, SARS Formation, they also represent molecular structure as cool perfect forms threatening the body politic.

Ann Lislegaard's recent work describes a universe that hovers like Thomas Bayrle's between utopia and dystopia, and refracts political reality through the imaginary. Her animation and sound works at Raven Row draw on classic science fiction, such as Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness to construct states both psychological and external.

Ultra-red is a collective of activists and artists who engage internationally in various community struggles. They have gathered together over the last two months at Raven Row to collaborate with local activists in a series of workshops that use the art of sound to investigate methods and politics of community organising. Their findings will be developed within the gallery during the exhibition.

In an essay to accompany the exhibition, writer and critic Lars Bang Larsen has written 'Elasticity. On Nervousness and Vibration'.

Thomas Bayrle (1937, Germany) had a retrospective exhibition earlier this year at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, MACBA. He lives in Frankfurt.

Ann Lislegaard (1962, Norway) currently has a solo exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. She lives in Copenhagen.

Ultra-red was founded in 1994 in Los Angeles and currently comprises nine members, based in North America and Europe.

Raven Row is a major new contemporary art centre in Spitalfields, London, which opened to the public in February 2009 with the exhibition 'Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return'. The galleries, described as 'jaw-droppingly elegant' by Adrian Searle at the Guardian, stand on the part of Artillery Lane known as Raven Row until 1895.

Ann Lislegaard's participation is supported by the Danish Arts Council Committee for Visual Arts.

Thomas Bayrle, Ann Lislegaard, and Ultra-red