As a digital extension of their first US solo exhibition opening at Friedman Benda, OrtaMiklos collaborated with digital artist Janis Melderis, composer Amédée De Murcia, and writer Richard Johnston Jones to realize a virtual occupation of the Temple of Dendur, the ancient monument that now sits in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Taking this currently unvisitable site as a stage of imaginative operation, OrtaMiklos and their team have created an arresting video, combining animation and performance, which confronts the alienating experience of the current pandemic. Ricocheting through the disturbing psychological terrain of the present, they also riff on the past – Pop Art and radical design practice – while giving some indication of their own future travel.
The project is set (virtually) within the Temple of Dendur, the famous – and famously displaced – Egyptian holy site that anchors the ancient collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Created at the behest of the Roman Emperor Augustus and dedicated to the goddess Isis, the temple was the result of cross-cultural movement even from its beginning. Its removal to the USA in 1965 is a fascinating episode in geopolitical history. And today, it could be seen as an emblem of sequestered culture. Though it can be seen by the public through the glass exterior of the Met’s Sackler Wing, it cannot be visited due to the Covid-19 crisis. OrtaMiklos responds obliquely but powerfully to all of these layered chapters of the site’s history, viewing it as a quintessential example of contested and mediated space.
Please access the digital space: https://www.templeofconfinement.com/
Leo Orta (b. 1993, Paris) and Victor Miklos Andersen (b. 1992, Kalundborg) formed OrtaMiklos in 2015 while studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Generally informed by natural habitats and processes, the creative duo’s experimental approach activates their design works from the existing norms. Their works have been exhibited in international museums, such as Icebergs In Progress at Museo Marino Marini in Florence (2018), in From Dusk to Dawn at K11 Art Foundation – Guangzhou (2019), in Foncteur d’oubli, at Le Plateau Frac Ile-de-France and Kleureyck: Van Eyck’s Colors in Design at Design Museum in Ghent (2020) and will be on view at Le Tripostal in Lille. OrtaMiklos currently operates the studio across two locations in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and Les Moulins, France.
Janis Melderis is a London based designer and 3D artist . He develops projects combining elaborate research with carefully crafted visual output. His dedication working with digital 3D matter, moving image, graphics and virtual reality, allows him to communicate knowledge, tell stories and create atmospheres. By proposing different ways of visual narration, Janis’ aim is to engage people in new, astonishing visual journeys. Janis graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven and currently is part of creative design studio Builders Club London and Morph Collective.
RICHARD JOHNSTON JONES
Richard Johnston Jones is a postgraduate researcher in American Literature at Keele University, England. His research focuses primarily on English and American “New Wave” science fiction, political economy, and genre studies. He is currently completing his PhD thesis on the politics of genre in the work of the American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
Glenn Adamson is a curator and writer who works at the intersection of craft, design history and contemporary art. Currently Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, he has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design; Head of Research at the V&A; and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. He is the host of Design in Dialogue, a triweekly online interview series co-presented with Friedman Benda gallery.
Adamson’s publications include Fewer Better Things (2019); Art in the Making (2016, co-authored with Julia Bryan-Wilson); The Invention of Craft (2013); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (2011); The Craft Reader (2010); and Thinking Through Craft (2007). He contributes regularly to Art in America, Crafts, Disegno, frieze, The Magazine Antiques, and other publications.