Autonomic Ambience Vol 1  Christopher Stead

Cologne 2023/10/30 2024/01/27

Christopher Stead (b. 1974 in Halifax, UK) presents his first solo exhibition Autonomic Ambience Vol 1 with Ruttkowski;68 at Pop;68 in Cologne.

If counter-culture is the mirror that reflects society, what kind of society are we reflecting? In the wake of multiple crises – the EU Referendum, COVID-19, and global inflation – Autonomic Ambience Vol 1 celebrates the recalcitrant spirit of countercultural resistance amid the divisions of a post-Brexit Britain.

Informed by ecological and economic positions, Stead’s practice focuses on turning life’s lemons into lemonade through processes of accumulation and the agency of found matter. Materials recovered from the streets and detritus gleaned from the studio are woven and patched together, creating ambient nervous systems that index the entanglement of the past, the present and futures forever lost. This regenerative practice reimagines spaces into storage vats of regional, cultural and collective memory, creating a ‘post-pandemic blues’ as a visual soundtrack to contemporary conditions.

Art, just like that of music and poetry, is capable of shedding light on its dark origins, like Acid House that grew from the reckless reforms called Thatcherism. In this sense, generational resistance to the binaries of boredom created amid today’s oppressive political climate marks the continuation of countercultural emancipation as depicted in and through an autonomic ambience.


Opening reception