23 July 2012

Pursuit of Perfection

Timed to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics, South London Gallery’s new exhibition ‘Pursuit of Perfection: The Politics of Sport’ opens on Friday.

Included in the exhibition, displayed individually and in groups on plinths and the floor, piled on top of each other like rubbish, are 2,529 trophies from every genre of sport, dating from the 1970s onwards, and collected by Aleksandra Mir for her work Triumph.   Inspired by a friend who had been a famous athlete in his youth and who kept mementos of his achievements as he was visibly ageing, Aleksandra placed an ad in the local newspaper in Palermo, Italy, asking the general public for their old sports trophies.  Triumph explores the power of the trophy, both a coveted symbol of accomplishment and a garish, mass-produced item of little real value.  The work is also a powerful visual statement of our tendency towards nostalgia, and the temptation to wallow in memories of past youth, vitality and joy.

Aleksandra Mir
Triumph, 2009
2529 trophies
copyright the artist

'Pursuit of Perfection' continues until the 14 September and also includes work by Michel Auder, Roderick Buchanan, John Gerrard, Lucy Gunning, Janice Kerbel, Jonathan Monk, Ariel Orozco and Paul Pfeiffer. 

A selection of Aleksandra’s collages, from her series The Dream and The Promise, featured in the most recent issue of P.E.A.R.  In these, the artist combines religious iconography with that of space travel, to ask what would happen if angels and astronauts shared the same sky.