Ed Atkins

Artist meditating on emotions in our digital-age

Hans Ulrich Obrist described Atkins as ‘one of the great artists of our time’. While the curator can occasionally be prone to hyperbole, there are plenty who agree with his assessment. It is Atkins’s use of liquidlike animation and facial recognition software that often grabs the attention initially, but what really makes Atkins deserving of HUO’s accolade – and deserving of the solo shows this year at the Castello di Rivoli, Turin; The Kitchen, New York; SMK, Copenhagen; and Gavin Brown’s new Harlem gallery – is the artist’s ability to tap into the anxiety of the digital age. The avatars that appear in Atkins’s films (he also makes sculptures) often have romantic angst to them as they offer soliloquies (written and voiced by the artist himself) on depression and love. Indeed, such is the literary nature of Atkins’s work that a collection of his writings was released this year.