Mungo Thomson

Background Extinction

Curator Talk with Aram Moshayedi


Friday, October 25 from 2-3pm

galerie frank elbaz, Dallas

Mungo Thomson, Majestic Mountains 2019 (January), 2019
2-sided UV-cured print on samba fabric, custom LED lightbox
244 x 244 x 10 cm
96 1/8 x 96 1/8 x 3 7/8 inches

Thomson's new lightbox works display calendar pages as if held up to the sun, allowing the reverse side of the page to show through. The images on the front and back of the page are collaged together with light – a calendar graphic with a photograph of a mountain, the grid of a single month embedded in an image of geological time. These images are printed on either side of a single piece of fabric and stretched over a custom LED light box at an immersive scale. These works consider geochronology from a precarious contemporary vantage, using everyday, art-adjacent materials that already hang on the wall. Like Thomson’s earliest wind chime works, the lightboxes pair evocations of elevated consciousness and spiritual pilgrimage with pragmatic home decor.


OThe Windham-Hill Works is a series of turntables with modified motors that play albums released by the 1980s/90s New Age record label Windham-Hill. Windham-Hill released precision-engineered instrumental music in the tradition of Erik Satie’s 1917 “Furniture Music“ – music composed to play in the background. Many Windham-Hill artists, particularly its star George Winston, sought thematic inspiration from the passage of time itself and titled their songs and albums for the months and seasons. Thomson’s modified turntables alter the play of Windham-Hill records so that their nearly undetectable revolutions summon the turning of the earth: Winston’s December takes 31 days to play, William Ackerman’s It Takes a Year takes 365 days, and so on.


Background Extinction also features one of Thomson’s signature TIME mirrors. This mirror references a cover of the magazine from May 6, 1985 that postulates a new theory: Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs?



Aram Moshayedi is a writer and curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where he curated the exhibition and publication Stories of Almost Everyone and co-curated (with Hamza Walker) Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only. Since joining the Hammer in 2013, he has organized projects by artists Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Marwa Arsanios, Andrea Bowers, Andrea Büttner, Simon Denny, Mario García Torres, Shadi Habib Allah, Maria Hassabi, Oliver Payne and Keiichi Tanaami, and Avery Singer. He was formerly associate curator at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), where he organized exhibitions and oversaw the production of new works by Tony Cokes, Geoffrey Farmer, Erlea Maneros Zabala, The Otolith Group, Slavs and Tatars, Jordan Wolfson, and Ming Wong. He has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues as well as ArtforumBOMB Magazine, Art in AmericaFriezeMetropolis MParkett, X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly, and Bidoun, for which he is a contributing editor.

Mungo Thomson works in sound, film, sculpture, photography and publication. In 2018, he held solo museum exhibitions at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Thomson has participated in the 2nd CAFAM Biennale, Beijing; the Pacific Standard Time Public Art and Performance Festival, Los Angeles; the 12th Istanbul Biennial; the 2008 Whitney Biennial; PERFORMA05, New York; and the Biennial of the Moving Image, MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland. Thomson’s work is held in many public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; FRAC Ile-de-France, Paris; and Museo Jumex, Mexico City. Thomson is represented by galerie frank elbaz, Paris, and was recently the subject of the solo exhibition Rods and Cones at Masahiro Maki Gallery, Tokyo. He has two forthcoming publications: Rods and Cones, published by Masahiro Maki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2019), and Mail, published by Inventory Press, Los Angeles (2020).