Morag Keil’s practice is ouroboric: self-referring, self-erasing, self-consuming, regurgitating. Keil’s installations have the bald efficiency of something bargain-bucket but workable. This amateurish construction — of clunky papier-mâché houses downtrodden with office heels, of a low-fi camera’s glitchy rove over motorbikes — actualises her reflection of contemporaneity’s squashing and conditioning of subjectivity, as well as the interlocking of production and pleasure. Beneath the watermark of professionalism and propriety lies a cesspit of personal contradictions and anxiety-trimmed mediations.
Through a wide variety of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, installation and video, as well as collaborative projects with artists such as Georgie Nettell, Keil’s work often relieve the aestheticising cliché of post-financial crash and millennial precarity. In her gallery exhibition, Here We Go Again, the artist simulated in three dimensions an out of date video game mocking home automation: doors with peepholes open up to doors, walls painted in soft pink and green screen, and televisions playing a lush forest CGI animation from a BBC One ident, which then cut to a blue circle that wobbled as a voice-over asked in the half-droning tones of Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. Behind Keil’s work is the demand to know why we live like this and the impulse to tear it all down; but, until that happens, we wander.
Her celebrated solo institutional exhibition, Moarg Keil, presented a survey of a decade’s work at the Institute for Contemporary Arts, London in 2019. Keil recently presented her third solo exhibition at Project Native Informant, Free Like Only Animals Can Be.