A Trace Left by the Future / Jonathan Monaghan

Jonathan Monaghan

A Trace Left by the Future

21 Mar - 05 Sep 2020

Anna Nova Gallery with support of bitforms gallery (New York) is pleased to present, A Trace Left by the Future, the first solo exhibition in Russia of the American artist Jonathan Monaghan. Featuring new sculpture, video, print and installation work, Monaghan invites us into a candy-colored, yet unsettling world uncovering fears and anxieties about an increasingly technological future. Drawing on a range of imagery, from baroque architecture to consumer electronics, Monaghan’s cryptic works draw attention to the ever blurring lines between the natural and artificial. Moreover, the artist levels criticism at capitalism, wide distribution of surveillance systems, and the large brand culture. 

“You can think of my work as therapy for an uncertain future. I think there is a lot of fear and anxiety everywhere about ecology and technology dependence.  I want to raise some critical awareness by drawing attention to this. I am asking my viewers to consider what the future might look like if we continue on our current trajectory of corporatization, materialist consumption and digital dependence. I also want to understand what in our human nature has allowed ourselves to arrive at such a fraught and fragile moment” – 

Jonathan Monaghan

Premiering for the first time as a three-channel installation is Out of the Abyss, a 19 minute seamlessly looping video installation referencing symbols and narratives associated with the biblical Apocalypse. Visually extravagant, the work re-imagines elements such as the seven-eyed lamb and the four horsemen as terrifying beasts of the present day, adorned with security cameras, riot gear, and consumer electronics. To create the work, Monaghan used high-end computer animation software and appropriated the slick and seductive visual aesthetics found in commercials or advertisements. 

Although Monaghan mainly works with video-installations, he also uses digital technologies like 3-D printing and CNC milling to create sculptures from various materials like plastics, marble, and gold. Resembling artifacts from another dimension, his works create something which truly blends the moving image and the notion of the art object.

All of these are showcased in Anna Nova, including not only new videos by the artist, but also some new print and wall decal works depicting ominous forms composed of designer fabrics and ambiguous technological contraptions.