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Mark Hilton, Elizabeth McDonald Schwaiger, Soda_Jerk, and Ted Carey

  • DEMO Gallery 721 Congress Avenue Austin, TX, 78701 United States (map)

ün rāˈälpōliˌtēk/
a system of politics or principles based on ideological rather than practical considerations

Alt-facts, fake news, gaslighting, and cognitive dissonance have become so commonplace in contemporary society that we find ourselves wondering at times what, if anything, constitutes our collective reality. An unrealpolitik has emerged, a return to a system of ideology, spectacle, and demagoguery.

In "unrealpolitik" artists deal with this foreboding quandary using dark humor, pop culture, and cryptic imagery that represents our contemporary State. A mash-up shouting-match of talking-points and counter-points struggling for dominance, dense and complex narratives reduced to a single image, an underwater political landscape, a literal house of cards on the brink of total collapse.

Mark Hilton (b. Melbourne 1977, lives and works in New York) is been the recipient of the prestigious AusArt Fellowship for Fine Arts and attends the International Studio & Curatorial Program's Ground Floor syllabus. He has an extensive exhibition history and work is represented in numerous international collections. Each card in Mark Hilton’s series ‘Half Flush’ adopts a duality that tends to stir something in the viewer. Using the standard pack of cards as his organising principle, Hilton mixes desire, degradation, contamination, zealotry and violence into a brew often sweetened by humour. Each suit has a theme that works more as a starting point than a defining rule: diamonds are class; hearts are religion; spades are nationalism; clubs are the environment.

Elizabeth McDonald Schwaiger (b. Plano 1985, lives and works in Austin) Schwaiger produces paintings and research-driven exhibitions revolving around ideas of ritual and the uncanny, as well as abstracted interpretations of political and interpersonal power differentials. Since earning her master's degree from the influential and unconventional Glasgow School of Art in 2011 she was named one of the top UK art graduates by The Catlin Guide, and has built an impressive resume with work in several prominent private and public collections throughout Europe and North America including paintings shown at The National Portrait Gallery in London, Liverpool’s Walker Art Museum, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, Chapter Arts Center in Cardiff, Art Basel Miami Satellite, and the biennial contemporary art festival Glasgow International 2010 and 2014.

Formed in Sydney in 2002, Soda_Jerk is a 2-person art collective that approaches sampling as an alternate form of history-making. Working at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction, their archival practice has taken the form of video installations, cut-up texts, screensavers and lecture performances. Soda_Jerk are based in New York where their work was recently shown in a dedicated program at Anthology Film Archives. They have collaborated with Australian collectives The Avalanches and VNS Matrix, and exhibited work in museums, cinemas, festivals and torrent sites. Soda_Jerk are the recipients of the Ian Potter Moving Image Commission and will premiere their new film Terror Nullius at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in 2018.

Ted Carey (b. Philadelphia 1984, lives and works in Austin) is an improv sculptor and abstract turntablist, he earned a BFA from the University of the Arts and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. “Carey works with the drastic insightfulness of an absurdist poet. His elegantly distressed objects, funny and sad and oddly exquisite, undermine varied sacred cows of culture and commerce. More, they affirm the vitality and importance of the mindful eye and heart in a world that overlooks beauty and numbs the senses.” - Matt Freedman.