Mitchell Anderson | Siren Songs / Sinister Sirens | Art Forum Baloise

Siren Songs / Sinister Sirens

group show


June 12 - October 27, 2023



Siren Songs / Sinister Sirens is an exhibition that explores language and how language impacts us in resounding, counterintuitive and unruly ways. The potential of language to incite a sense of agency, be it explicit or implicit, is a force to be reckoned with. The exhibition brings together seven positions who through the use of language, be it textually, sculpturally, bodily or symbolically engage with topics inherently and strongly connected to agency such as action, power, ethics, social constructs and morality.

In the title Siren Songs / Sinister Sirens the dual meaning of "siren" is evocative and conjures a sense of the unexpected: a siren as a mythological being with a seductive voice and an alarm siren that connotes warning. The title with its play on words beats the drum for language and tunes in to its potential of ambiguity and subversion.  

Last Tango is a Kunstverein in Zurich dedicated to presenting and (co-) producing original exhibitions by a trans-generational roster of artists. It has since its inception been curated and run by Arianna Gellini and Linda Jensen.

Last Tango explains: "Our mission is to support artists in pursuing ambitious and stimulating presentations of their work. We seek to provide a dynamic program of exhibitions and events with unanticipated combinations of practices, new perspectives, critical reflection and dedicated outreach. Our aim is to encourage and support new forms of knowledge production, be it through exhibitions, artist talks, film screenings or tours for students."


Anderson is driven by an interest in how meanings tend to be, as he describes it, “harnessed, held, and hidden” within the public eye. His Join series takes inspiration from slogans used on military, charity, art, and protest posters in the past centuries. All of these slogans include the word join, one of the 6,000 homonyms in the English language. With the same spelling or pronunciation, but different meanings and origins, homonyms can only be decoded via context to determine whether they are being used as a noun or a verb. The source material for Join (the Great Peace March (Keith Haring, 1986)) (2023) is a 1986 Keith Haring poster for the Great Peace March. It reads: “Something big is crossing America, Peace. Join the Great Peace March for a UN Day Parade for Global Nuclear Disarmament.” As in his other neons, it has been scaled up to a predetermined painting-like size of 130 × 59 cm. The choices of medium and colour act as unifiers. The Join series makes a straight connection to the immediate and fast-consumed signs in the public space, while also reflecting the nuances related to the language of art while employing– as the artist notes – “the colour [red] that Judd believed showed edges, angles and cast shadows the best”, with a clichéd colour symbolism evoking fear, love, and anger.

Mitchell Anderson

Join (the Great Peace March (Keith haring, 1986)), 2023
Neon, glass, 55 x 130 cm. Photo: Kilian Bannwart


Bruce Nauman,
Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press,
Mitchell Anderson,
Nicole Bachmann,
Sam Porritt,
Vittorio Santoro and
Marlene McCarty


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June 12, 2023
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