simon senn

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TOUR DATES 2021 -> Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (CH) / Actoral(FR) / Le Quai - Angers (FR) / FIT Festival (CH) / Santarcangelo Festival (IT) / Contemporanea Festival (IT) / Noorderzon Festival (NL) / Festival Numerik Games (CH) / Sibiu International Theatre Festival (RO) / Carrefour international de théâtre (CA) / Internationales Figuren Theater Festival (DE) / Trafó Kortárs Művészetek Háza (HG) / Théâtre Les Halles (CH) / Festival Present Futures (UK) / Santiago a Mil International Theater Festival (CL) / Festival Temps d’images, Tanzhaus NRW (DE) / GOGOGO, Le Grütli (CH)

2020 -> Échelle Humaine, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Lafayette Anticipations (FR) / Точка доступа (RU) / Cluj Interferences International Theatre Festival (RO) / BITEF, Belgrade International Theatre Festival (SR) / ArtLab EPFL (CH) / REFRESH #3, ZHDK (CH) / Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (CH) / Rome Short Theater (IT) / Actoral (FR) / reGeneration4 - Musée de l'Elysée (CH) / Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève (CH) / Le Grütli (CH) / Südpol (CH) / (IM)POSSIBLE BODIES (NL) / FIT Festival (CH) / Noorderzon Festival (NL) / auawirleben (CH) /

2019 -> Les Urbaines (CH) / Geneva International Film Festival – GIFF (CH) / CDD.8, Théâtre du Loup (CH) / Fête du Théâtre, Genève (CH)

Trespassages, solo show at Nest, The Hague, 5 June - 31 July 2016
Simon Senn: Fawcett Street, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art,
12 September - 14 November 2015
Simon Senn, Salon Kennedy, Frankfurt,
5 November 2014 - 29 November 2014
Liverpool Biennial - Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014, 20 September - 26 October 2014
18h15, Galerie Nicola von Senger, Zürich 8 March – 26 April 2014
La vallée de la jeunesse - Ferme-Asile - Centre artistique & culturel, Sion, 8 December 2013 - 2 February 2014
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2013, Spike Island, Bristol, 14 September 2013 – 10 November 2013 - ICA, London, 27 November 2013 – 26 January 2014
Artist's talk, Simon Senn and George Vasey, On the Documentary, Tuesday 1 October 2013, Spike Island, Bristol
The Goldsmiths 2013 MFA Show : The Pool Exhibition, 5-8 July
Artist Talks: A Small Hiccup, Tuesday 25 June, Grand Union, Birmingham
A SMALL HICCUP (curated by George Vasey) / Grand Union, Birmingham 25 May to 5 July / The Newbridge Projec, Newcastle, 13 July to 30 August / Limoncello, London, 16 July
Hirst’s heirs are creating a sensation
The Independent, December 2012
Interview - ICA - Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012: Simon Senn
Because, London, december 2012
Augustin Rebetez / Simon Senn
Galerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich
August 31, 2012
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012
The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, November
Liverpool Biennial 2012, September
Journées photographiques de Bienne
September 8 - 30, 2012
Performance on September 7
MFA Interim Show, Goldsmiths University, London
June 3, 2012
Kill the Lollipop, Lewisham Arthouse, London
May 9 - 20, 2012
Swiss Performance Art Award (with the californium 248 collective),
Le Commun, Geneva, November 10, 2011
Simon Senn
Videodromo, Ancona, Italy
August 20 - September 3, 2011
Messehalle 3, Basel
June 13 - 20, 2011
Opening, ARCOmadrid, Madrid
(with Jerome Zodo Contemporary)
February 16 - 20, 2011
Lust and Vice: The Seven Deadly Sins from Dürer to Nauman
Kunstmuseum Bern
October 15, 2010 - February 20, 2011
Dans un deuxième temps (1)
Piano Nobile, Geneva
September 23 - October 13, 2010
Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
September 4-11, 2010
Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milano
June 24 – September 11, 2010
Performance Project (with the californium 248 colective)
LISTE 15 – The Young Art Fair, Basel
AFTERPIECE: performance art on video (with the californium 248 colective)
Claudia Groeflin Galerie, Zurich
May 6 – 28, 2010
Simon Senn - Participatory Panopticon
CACT Centro d’Arte Contemporanea del Ticino, Bellinzona
April 10 — May 16, 2010
Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milano, Italy
January 21 - February 27, 2010
Pascale Birchler, Saskia Edens, Simon Senn
Galerie Nicola von Senger, Zürich
January 9 - February 27, 2010

haut bas

Edited by Jerome Zodo Contemporary
Text by Géraldine Zodo

Simon Senn’s various experimental concoctions are governed by an insistent tautology of the audiovisual medium, in which the figure of the viewer holds sway. Working to foster interaction between the two ends of the visual operation—artist and viewer—he devises interactive cinematic processes, based on the anthropological study of human behaviour, that arise from a group of people put under pressure. The actors, placed in bizarre, extreme situations, follow precise guidelines, their actions, reactions and interactions captured by the audiovisual medium, which is both the co-star of the action and the actual flesh of the work. Letting go of his own subjectivity, Simon Senn becomes the intermediary for a restrained form of direction that explores the visceral, fetishistic dimension of visual experience, its ultimate aim not to merely show the work, but demand that viewers become part of it. The latter must mentally and physically enter the flow of images, and are called on to play an active role in the manipulation of the cinematic process, which becomes a dynamic system that varies according to input they control. The Swiss artist’s creative explorations develop a theory of the visual, which reformulates the loss of sacrality that comes with viewer involvement in the physiological processes of artwork. Through the portrayal of delicate equilibria, Senn conveys the complex, maniacal interactions generated by the audiovisual medium, a tool that can stimulate and augment the human capacity for synesthesia just as it can excite and appease the most perverse and deeply hidden passions.

CACT Centro d’Arte Contemporanea Ticino
Text by Mario Casanova (translation Pete Kercher)

On 10 April, the CACT Centre of Contemporary Art in Canton Ticino inaugurates the first personal show of Swiss artist Simon Senn (1986). Senn’s work develops primarily around man and definitions of identity. His idiom is that of performance, which he records diligently with videos. As a result, the works on show here – installations and video projections – should not be intended essentially as the film images in themselves, which are merely their means of production. Their purpose is to outstrip the medium itself, which thus becomes irrelevant or marginal, so as to take on an important trans-medial dimension, in other words of self-sacrifice, of the technical medium, so as to return to man, to his naked body, to his intimate nature: to the man who is far too often imprisoned in/by his own culture. Simon Senn, then, thinks as a socially and contextually committed artist… so, ‘stripped bare’ and ‘mise en abîme’, the Genevan artist, a pupil of Yan Duyvendak, sets out to investigate and develop on the theme of the inner workings of the technological society, based on relative wealth and consumption; the self-same democratic, technocratic and bourgeois society that has made safety and control one of its main political, ideological and electoral platforms.

The dichotomies that are so rife in his work have already been described by Géraldine Zodo in one of her essays. Both artist and spectator, Simon Senn restores the anthropological dimension of man in the context of his socio-political fabric, where he lives and works, accentuating the paradoxes of a society hell-bent on suffocating the roles related to his status as a human being, with his status as an individual, part of a system, with its functions. Established in the eighteenth century and capable of taking from humanism in order to strengthen a cold democratic utilitarianism, this Enlightenment vision vigorously questions the identity of man, of society itself, of a modernity that – ever since the French Revolution – has demarcated the social and the societal dimensions in its transit from domination to psycho-physical control.

It is no coincidence that the artist and the curator met and found common ground in a topic as important as that of the Panopticon, the architectural model and utilitarian school of thought elaborated by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) to control diversity, where the concept of parole and discipline determine the modern and contemporary social structure.

On the threshold of the new millennium, Senn strikes a critical pose, contributing to marking the passage from a consumer society to a society of renewal. He does so by putting four installations on show here. L’Hôtel des sapins (2008) is an interactive video work that records a performance that took place in an abandoned building, where six participants (men and women), numbered, hooded and otherwise naked, filmed each other with video cameras, while trying not to be filmed themselves, so each striving to escape from the domination of the others. The reiteration of the various moments of this performance, summarised in a documentary film, enables the public – which has a remote control – to set the various different perspectives of the images being projected, once again bringing in the issue of the freedom to control what we are seeing and at the same time doing.

Meanwhile, the recent work entitled Le bois-des-frères (2009) features the same thematic mechanisms, albeit with different methods and relative to the concept of play: such as therapy and, at the same time the didactics of behaviour.

With Room Nr 15 (2008), Simon Senn has come up with a directly more self-referential topic. The set for the video could be anywhere, a hotel room, a darkroom or a cellar, as it plays skilfully with the relationship between private and public, individual and group, freedom and lack of freedom. A sensual person whose face is censored moves anonymously, followed by a TV camera: ambiguity is also an apt description of how we interpret the work and of insistent voyeurism as one of our society’s leitmotivs. The videos were shot by eight people who were filming while attacking a young man. The apparent autonomy and self-determination of both action and actor and our (in)ability to observe what we see in the media and image communication bring us back to the increasingly aestheticising mystification of the means of information and to their ability to influence the world of our perceptions.

Pascale Birchler, Saskia Edens, Simon Senn
Galerie Nicola von Senger
Text by Alexandra Gmür

In his works, Simon Senn deals with human behavior and interaction patterns. His explorations of group dynamics and individual behavior take place in a context defined by the artist. The specific context usually seeks to emphasize aspects of societal settings in such a way that, in combination with the deployed means of recording, behaviors are being accentuated, if not radicalized. Thus, through the aesthetic dimension of his works, Simon Senn inevitably touches the controversial area of tension between ethic and aesthetic. The video L’hôtel des sapins (2008) shows six young people in an abandoned building, naked except for their covered face, numbered and each of them equipped with a video camera. The sole instruction given by the artist to each of them was that they must try to film the other persons without being seen by the other moving cameras. The fact that all the protagonists are wearing a mask and the abandoned, cold and partly snow-covered terrain bring up associations of a danger zone, of violence and terrorism. By their faces being covered the people involved have hidden a great part of their identity, created distance, but simultaneously, they are naked and vulnerable. Besides the six cameras of the protagonists, four other non-moving cameras were filming the scene. The ten resulting videos were precisely synchronized and edited into one interactive video, in which the spectator can navigate between the different viewpoints with a remote control. To some extent, the interactive viewing allows for a time- independent participant observation of complex interactions, role negotiation and mutual perception. At the same time, the playful hide-and-seek contrasts with the cold, oppressive reality of the environment and refers to the overall composition of the artwork as a metaphor for what’s happening on the web, for a virtual reality with all its consequences for the “naked” and true reality. Watching the video evokes mixed emotions: The fascinations of looking at it from the research perspective of a social scientist to succumbing to voyeurism, while constantly being tempted to escape into a virtual video-game-world.