press release

Horsecross Arts is delighted to present Thirst by Colombian born artist Fernando Arias who has lived and worked between Colombia and England for the last 20 years. His artistic practice is often positioned within neo-conceptualism, post-Duchampian aesthetics and Latinamerican avantgarde. Thirst is comprised of six public interventions in the landmark building in the city, which houses the Threshold artspace. Arias' interventions include new site-specific public commissions and recent works with acquisitions for the Horsecross collection. These pieces are installed at six 'project rooms' of the artspace.

Alongside his new commissions featured in Thirst, a number of Arias' recent works will be shown in the United Kingdom for the first time including Humanos Derechos, Enjoy Your Meal and Mahum.

Arias' project Humanos Derechos is the starting point for the artist's recent investigation into the nature of humanization of conflicts – a theme at the heart of his solo exhibition at the artspace. This life-size installation shows members of armed groups from Colombia's conflict stripping away their arms and uniforms to find themselves naked and confronting each other as human beings. Thirst makes a bold yet subtle statement about the enduring and explosive nature of global conflicts in troubled regions such as Colombia, the Middle East and the Kashmir. Arias' response to these conflicts has taken the form of strong and beautiful portraits of people caught up in the violence.

The major body of work commissioned as part of Thirst has emerged from the artist's experience in Israel and Palestine. Travelling from Jerusalem to Ramallah one sees the infamous concrete Israeli West Bank barrier. Arias reacted to the wall by intervening in Tel Aviv's public spaces with the stencilled graffiti 'IS REAL?', documenting his actions and producing a series of photographs that question the idea of state and territory. The video, audio and photographic material gathered during his time in Israel and Palestine forms the basis of a series of exclusive works. The relentless run of the concrete barrier is intensified by the repetitive flow over the long Threshold wave of 22 flat 40-inch screens that dominate the artspace. This creative conceit allows for our sense of place to be subtly altered by bringing geographically distant locations together to map a new kind of locality marked by the artist's own personal political vision for a sustainable future. Reclaiming the significance of the local while simultaneously placing himself and his viewers within a global, often troubled, context.

The exhibition Thirst is accompanied by a new issue of Read More – Horsecross Arts journal of critical writing (ISSN 1755-0866 Online) to be published on 27 September 2010. Newly commissioned essay by Hillel Schenker explores Arias' new works in relation to his oeuvre to date.

Concurrently, at its recently extended artspace, Horsecross is delighted to present Solo – the first exhibition in an UK public institution by the emerging Perth-based artist Casey Campbell.

Thirst is produced by the artist, curator and Horsecross Arts for Threshold artspace in partnership with 55degrees, Glasgow. Supported by Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, The Netherlands and Creative Scotland.

Launched in September 2005, Threshold artspace is about positioning Perth and Scotland within the contemporary art world through curating, commissioning, producing, exhibiting, publishing and collecting bold contemporary art by Scottish and international artists. Pioneered and managed by Horsecross Arts and core funded by Creative Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council. Admission free. Open Monday to Saturday, 10am until 6pm or late on performance evenings.

only in german

Fernando Arias
Kurator: Iliyana Nedkova