Ed Atkins’ Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths is a follow-up to his pilot project Material Witness OR A Liquid Cop. Here, Atkins’ shifty, protean protagonist is not so much undercover as in too deep – his identity hidden; his body immersed and submerged. Sleeping with the fishes in his luminescent vacuum at the bottom of the ocean, he is the unquiet voice of the repressed, the face of the unfathomable (albeit a face that is framed and sometimes lost behind its mass of tangled, swirling hair). Netted by digital motion capture techniques, and embellished through computer animation, the slipperiness of truth and the difficulty of its representation are vividly entwined in this image, lending Atkins’ investigations a material, almost forensic resonance. Animators speak of the rendering of hair as the final frontier (and the elusive grail) of computer graphic verisimilitude. Get it right and your character is immediately believable. Get it wrong and it is an instant, incriminating giveaway. Atkins’ figure drifts deliberately between the two: fitfully surfacing like a nagging subconscious memory, a foreign body floating up from the depths. As with all of Atkins’ work, however, that frisson of indeterminacy lingers indelibly, haunting and troubling the mind.
16 January - 24 February 2013
Jerwood Visual Arts at Jerwood Space, London
8 June - 20 July 2013
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths was commissioned as part of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2012. A collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and FVU in association with CCA, Glasgow. FVU is supported by Arts Council England.