Knut Ã…sdam
43 minutes, 35mm

Abyss, a co-production between City Projects, London and Filmhuset, Oslo, was shot entirely in East London, around the fringes of the Olympic site as it was being constructed. It was premiered at Tate Modern on 15th February 2011 and went on to tour independent cinemas and art centres around the UK. The film also formed part of Ã…sdam’s solo show at the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, which ran from 27 May to 22 August 2010.

The urban sprawl that takes in the Olympic site and the Thames Gateway features the sorts of “composite architectures” that often provide the backdrop to Åsdam’s films. In Abyss, more than in his previous films, the cityscape becomes the film’s main protagonist. Eschewing narrative and character development in favour of a depiction of ‘contemporary subjectivity’ through a series of filmed tableaux, Abyss is a poetic, yet critical, examination of the rapid architectural, environmental and social changes sweeping through East London.

Åsdam represented Norway at the 1999 Venice Biennial and has exhibited at Tate Britain; the Istanbul Biennial; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; PS1, New York; and Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Recent solo exhibitions include Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2007); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern art, Oslo (2006); and Kunsthalle Bern (2005). Group exhibitions include TimeCode, Mambo, Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (2008); Manifesta 7, Trento – Alto Adige, Italy (2008); and Into me/out of me, MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea), Rome, Italy (2007).

His films have been shown at film festivals including Locarno, Switzerland; International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen; and at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, where he was Artist in Focus in 2007. Feature articles on his work have been published in Artforum, Grey Room, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Untitled Magazine.