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About Ed Fornieles

Born: 1983, UK

Lives and works in London


2011: MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art, London, UK
2005: BA Fine Art, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, UK

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Ed Fornieles

Practice: performance / installation / sculpture

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 When is a party not quite genuine? Or an awards ceremony not exactly what it seems?

Ed Fornieles' performance-based works meld roleplay with reality to produce narratives which themselves hover somewhere between documentary and drama.

Photographs of his Animal House series, for example, reveal exactly the kind of antics suggested by allusion to the popular movie franchise. But the party-goers depicted are essentially performers, their participation in the evening's revelry conforming to preassigned character profiles.

A later, more ambitious project - the 2012 Dreamy Awards held at London's Serpentine Gallery - merged "'real' people from the worlds of music, technology, advertising, film, TV, politics" with "characters ... played by the public."

The ceremony was genuine insofar as accolades were bestowed upon the likes of a (video-linked) Zac Efron, but the evening's most satisfying tensions were largely derived from the mingling of type-playing performers with more than usually self-aware industry personalities.

Facebook, unsurprisingly, is a constant reference in Fornieles' investigation of the complexities of contemporary character, either as a source of ready-made 'personalities' - which performers adopt by studying assigned profile pages - or as a vehicle for art creation itself.

Dorm Daze, a semi-scripted Californian campus sitcom (which led, in turn, to the Animal House performances), was played out directly within the social media giant by participants whose online characters were gleaned from the profiles of real college students.

Negotiation of fiction and reality has become more complex than ever, and there's a certain knowing irony in the fact that nebulous digital identities can take on far more substantial dimensions in their subsequent enactment.

The antics documented in the Animal House series, for example, are clearly as much fuelled by alcohol, increasing disinhibition and convergence of character with 'real' personality as they are by prior briefing and Fornieles' presence as a director:

"The performances ... were based on scenes from films, pranks and college scenarios, which played themselves out over the evening. It began directed but collapsed into chaos after people began to open themselves up to their characters and take on a certain mindset."

Yet while Fornieles' performative investigations provide fascinating approaches to our ever-increasing dialogue with on- and offline realities, they are not, as far as his practice is concerned, ends in themselves.

Instead, the artist regards these semi-staged events as "content generating system(s)" for artworks such as installations and sculptural works which, quite apart from the significance of their evolution, possess unusually dynamic visual presence.

Added Nov 2012

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