The Internet and Elvis will never die

Issue no1
Feb-Mar 2019

Dick Verdult’s first solo exhibition at Annet Gelink combines video, audio and povera-esque assemblage sculpture. All works have a sense of being partially gleaned and partially customised by the artist’s hand. Purposefully executed with unskilled, autodidactic, labour; the kind of labour found equally in a Favela as in Contemporary art.

Linked together by a timed lighting rig, the fragmented material on display is connected into one digressive but total whole. Where one work ends and another begins isn’t clear; which is appropriate to an exhibition that is literally wired together as a low-fi mechanical ecology. The works are both metaphorically and, occasionally, literally in communicating with one another.

The artist proposes the work as an aviary, an analogue to the sealed, interconnected and artificial environment the work references in its title, the Internet. The title makes reference to Elvis, who according to a widely disseminated and much parodied conspiracy theory, may not have died as reported on the 16th of August 1977. The immortal and mythical version of Elvis, like the works in the show, defies finitude.
The exhibition functions as an a-temporal bubble, the nodal entries of video and audio pieces along side the sculptures express the paradigm of recycling, remixing and repurposing of junk. To think of the junk object in this context is to consider the inbuilt capacity for repurposing of all objects. This consideration brings about two implications for the object. Firstly, objects loose their status as waste and are imbued with a new agency of potential. And secondly, that this that the definition of junk or not-junk looses it’s meaningful application; as all object have an inherent junk-ness from their very inception in he world.

There is an overall apocalyptic, or post apocalyptic feel to Dick Verdult’s exhibition. Not an apocalypse of warring destruction but the apocalyptic collapse of time and space brought about by the potent determinism of the Internet. We should not forget that the precursor of the Internet, ARPANET, was designed by the US military to survive a nuclear war. It was intended as a communication network that would outlast the material effects of Armageddon. In this sense the Internet is inherently and implicitly a post-apocalyptic and immortal medium; one that is expressly designed to exist outside the entropic processes of time. Like the mythical Elvis of urban folklore, it will never get old.

By using materials not associated with digital environments Dick Verdult’s exhibition reveals that the changes determined by the dominant medium of our age affects more than what take place within the medium itself.

Dick Verdult
The Internet and Elvis will never die

Annet Gelink Gallery
25 May - 30 June 2013

All images courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery Amsterdam

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 1 — 2019