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05

Mar
2011

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You are the dream of my realization

On 05, Mar 2011 | No Comments | In Uncategorized | By admin

I went to see Bethan Huws at the Whitechapel gallery and left wanting something more from the sparse conceptualism. Luckily I came across some brilliant work by Huang Xiaopeng a Chinese video artist.

Four short videos

Guess Love Everyday (2’51″) 2007

Only You (2’50″) 2009

It’s Gonna Pop You Idiot (7’01) 2006

The Explosion is a Voice at Time the Generation Hear (5’46″) 2007

Three of the films explore the gaps in comprehension that arise in the process of translation. For example in Only You a well known and popular kareoke song is played with the written Chinese translation and it’s literal retranslation back into English subtitled over the visuals. The lyric ‘you are my dream come true’ is, for instance, translated through this process of chinese whispers into ‘you are the dream of my realization’. This same idea is pushed further in The Explosion is a Voice at Time the Generation Hear where a gansta-rap song is subjected to the same process.

It’s Gonna Pop You Idiot is, gratifyingly, a better version of a video idea I had and then never made. Here two boys blow up balloons. Filmed in slow motion to the sound track of deep breathing, the balloons get bigger and bigger and bigger. The first one explodes, like a death, revealing the child’s face that had become obscured by this large blue external lung. Fear, relief and fear again as we wait for the inevitable from his companion beside him.

 

07

Feb
2011

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Moving Portraits

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The current exhibition at the De La Warr in Bexhill is a must for anyone who is still persists in the traditional art of portrait painting.  You can view this fantastic survey of 60 years of film and video portraits (including Sam Taylor Wood’s iconic ‘David’  (2005)) and then ask yourself,  ‘why paint?’.

I particularly enjoyed Gillian Warring’s ’2 into 1′ (1997) in which the voice of a mother discussing her relationship with her sons is mimed by the boys and presented as though they are speaking her words. The boys comments about their mother are similarly mimed by her and presented as though she is speaking their words in their voices. The intricacies of familial relationships are explored and exposed in this piece as the reversed conversation wavers between love and hate. The mother, for instance, seemingly belittling herself with the harsh judgement of teenage  contempt while the boys speak of their extraordinary beauty and uncontrollable tempers with an unsettlingly calm detachment.

The exhibition is without doubt a curatorial success. The work within it ranges from experimental cinema to documentary, to fictionalised and performative works. There are some big names in the show including work by Warhol, Emin, Gilbert and George and Opie (to name a few) and the exhibition is accompanied by an interesting programme of biographical and character-led films being shown in a cinema space upstairs.

 

www.dlwp.com

 

01

Feb
2011

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Joanna Brown, An Invitation to Fall, 2011, Chipboard and Elastic, dimensions h200cm w69cm d100cm

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Surrendering the weight of the body to the pull of gravity provokes a combination of fear and elation, a minute death and resurrection. An Invitation to Fall offers the opportunity to experience this exquisite mix of emotions.

fearelation

17

Jan
2011

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Philippe Parreno, Serpentine Gallery

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Standing next to a window inside the Serpentine Gallery and looking out over Kensington Gardens I listen to the exterior sounds transmitted through a loudspeaker beside me. After a while I notice a breath mark on the window and become aware of the presence of a man (I think) inhabiting this space in the moments before I arrived here. As I wait for the condensation to fade I consider who this person may have been, whose mouth was it that touched the window above the height of my head? I feel some connection with this unknown other who, like me, has paused to stand and perhaps notice the erasure of distance between the internal here and the external there.

Later, on my way home, it occurs to me that the breath mark didn’t evaporate during the time I stood there. Looking at the exhibition notes I find the following description and image of this stealthy offering:

Federico, an acid engraving on glass, was originally inspired by the house of deceased Spainish poet, Federico García Lorca. Reconfigured for the Serpentine Gallery, the glass etching, which resembles a trace of condensation, is placed where García Lorca’s breath would have appeared as he looked out upon the falling snow in Kensington Gardens.

 


07

Jan
2011

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Soundwalk Level 7, NCP Car Park, North Road, Brighton

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We all carry within us an imaginary soundscape, an idealized version of sounds that whisper and call to us, interrupting our lives with brief memories of other places and times.

On my daily walk south along Ditchling Road the spire of St Peter’s rises to touch the horizon, lifting off into the sky as I descend the final, paved, undulation of the hill. All around me the ever-present rumble of the city, punctuated by the intense wailing of sirens and screeching of brakes and, sometimes, by a quiet call from the North, the sound of skylarks, the humming of insects, breeze through the grass and, from the south, every so often, the sound of the fierce sea churning the shingle with its wild, rhythmic, energetic force.

Brighton is a city bound and shaped by the peculiarities of its geography. Squashed between the hills and the sea it is a city written by the compass: North Road, North Gardens, North Place, North Street, Eastern Road, East Street, South Road, South Street, Western Road, Western Street, West Road, West Street.

This soundwalk brings together three locations: the Iron Age hill fort at the top of Hollingbury Hill at the north end of Ditchling Road, a rectangular section of the beach enclosed by groynes to the south and the roof of the NCP car park in the centre of the city. The reality of the sonic environment in each of these settings is somewhat different from my romanticised expectations and this is reflected in the composition.

The walk takes place in the car park starting on level 7 at the north end and traversing the boundary in a clockwise direction, east, south, west, north, east and south again to finish at the southern exit on level 7.

04

Jan
2011

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sound walk level 7 NCP car park North Road Brighton

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http://www.4shared.com/audio/NbOunBtS/NCP_level_7_soundwalk_-_Joanna.html

A sound walk. You can download this to your ipod and listen to it as you walk south, west, north, east and south again around the perimeter of the top level of the NCP car park in North Road.

29

Nov
2010

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Omar’s Crit 29.11.10

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Omar showed a series of old maps on which he had drawn endangered animals. The maps were national geographic publications from the 1940s and 1950s depicting large landmasses such as the northern hemisphere and northern europe. It seems as though there is a dialogue between the line-drawn animals and the cartographic representation of countries but it isn’t entirely clear what they are saying  to each other. The animals representated are not yet extinct but they are likely to become so. In the 1940s and 1950s they weren’t endangered and people were unlikely to have known that they would become so. What do the old maps signify? A lump in history, a crease in the sheets of time. We are being asked to project ourselves into the future in order to imagine a past where wild animals still existed, but like the tardis with an electrical fault we have landed somewhere that is difficult to identify.

18

Nov
2010

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Absence and Optimism, Cadi Froehlich, 11.11.10

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Fresh from the frontline of the first riot of the new regime, Cadi made an installation composed of discarded placards collected, bundled and placed on a shelf in a storage cupboard.

As an immediate response to the events of the previous day the work has a strong sense of the instinctive about it. The wooden sticks, gathered and stored, like firewood, with their potential to fuel and fan the flames of dissent represent a potent symbol of a possible future. How this piece is read will, in this respect, be determined by what unfolds over the months and the years ahead.

 

08

Nov
2010

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Lizzie Hughes, Second Empire State Building Piece

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A tower built from words weaves its way up through eighty floors of concrete, metal and glass. Bodies seated at desks one on top of the other, up, up, up higher into the sky. The impossibility of being there – swaying in the clouds of mundane conversations, structured by systems as rigid and organised as the shiny marble hallways that contain them.

An invisible intervention into the lives of eighty receptionists housed in offices within the empire state building, Hughes’ recorded phone conversations develop into a vertical journey with the uneven rhythm of an old elavator. The work connects us to the individuals within the building but also points us to their separatedness, from each other, from the ground, and from an environment appropriatly scaled for the human life within it.