Four artists – Evan Penny, Regan Morris, John Massey and the late Robert Flack – centre their work on body-related patterns and designs. They also share a common discourse on the body, which is the oft-cited Lacanian assertion that skin divides exterior consciousness and interior psyche. Morris, for instance, paints decorative textile patterns over a dense, grey surface resembling aged human skin or even that of an elephant. Penny etches linear, black abstract designs which are actually microscopic details of his own skin, into a yellowish, beeswax ground. Massey’s photo-based prints, Versailles (1985) and Compound Eye (1988-89), place figurative tattoos on an arm and an eye respectively. Flack’s fifteen photo-collages, forming the Empowerment Series (1990-91) overlay funky, psychedelic, and vaguely Eastern patterns over sensual male nudes.
These three artists confront the relationship with ego and body, and in doing so, critique, as body theorists often did in the eighties, Freud’s interpretation of these as two separate domains. By contrast, Louise Noguchi’s, Barr Gilmore’s and Jeanne Thib’s comparatively recent work injects new interpretations into the now overly familiar body discourse.
Opposing Foucault’s reading of the corporeal as a history killer, Thib shows the body as an “archive” in her five-panel linocut, Glyph (1994), and her installation, Blueprint (1995), through her placement of decorative imagery – floral, spiral, ornithological patterns – from eclectic historic sources over body parts such as a disembodied leg. Given the body’s life expectancy and its random determination, Thib’s argument for the body as a secure historic document, while pleasingly contentious in its attempt to contest a well-established argument, fails to convince for practical reasons.
Barr Gilmore’s piece, Closer eXamination (1996), relates fabric, textiles and design to the body to highlight the way the crafting of images acts as a mediator of individualistic artistic “vision.” To do this, Gilmore takes the image of a large-scale eye which appears pixelated but is actually made up of buttons placed along lines of string, like an abacus. If the viewer plays the piece, strumming it like a guitar, the multi-coloured buttons flip over and form the eye. A fascinating, complex and interactive interface is constructed between viewer, artist and object, where it is the audience not the artist who determines artistic vision, which is, until a viewer intervenes, cloaked by the material that fabricates the image.
Francoise Nielly is definitely an artist described as intricate and complex techniques indicating charming and important energy and strength.
Art by painter Franoise Nielly use a discernible power that come from each one composition. Having acquired palette knife portrait ideas, the artist utilizes solid strokes of oil on canvas to combine a clear abstraction in to these figurative paintings. The paintings, which can be based out of simple black or white photos, feature significant light, shadow, depth, and productive neon colours. In line with her resource on Behance, Nielly takes a risk: her art is sexual, her colorings free, modern, shocking, sometimes mind blowing, the cut of her knife incisive, her coloring pallete sparkling.
In Francoise Nielly’s work, she will never use any modern technology and utilizes only oil together with palette knife. The colors are published roughly on the canvas and become an extremely great work. Her portraits encapsulate power of colors like a wonderful means of experiencing life. The belief and form are simply just beginning points.
Francoise draws lines to discover elegance, emotion, while keeping focused of memories. Pretty much every portrait signifies a feeling of happiness and unhappiness. When we finally learn this sort of sensual, meaningful and tremendous drawing, we know that special attention can drive severely inside a look, in a gesture, in the position that outlines ones methods of being. The shades are why are Nielly’s art so valid and natural and it’s hard not to fall in love with her themes. Lots of could be inspirations, which in turn dance inside these types of feeling, and plenty of can be the interpretations which might be conveyed. ?Have you asked yourselves how essential it should be to obtain colours? Maybe you have thought about how important it will be to tame such styles?
Nielly reveals a protective analysis towards feel and develops into an instinctive and wild goal of expression. In case you close your eyes, you wouldn’t visualize a face, having colors, though if you think about it faithfully, everything gains a form via our needs and desires. The most distressed soul will surely have colors, which are covered but always alive. Plenty of people feel that in a portrait, there’s always a harmony that goes out, however in my opinion, every definition is branded in their face. Eyes find sins and passion, a smile opens pleasure or perhaps a decisive lie, and brilliant shades indicate options without a lot movement.
Might you enjoy Francoise Nielly’s works of art? Do you wish to commission a portrait painting using this painter? I don’t know if Francoise receive commission job? But if she do, i bet the cost are going to be very very expensive as the majority of her works of art are selling $10,000 to $30,000. Therefore, pretty much, it is almost difficult to let Francoise Nielly create your portrait, though, guess what, our skilled artists can! We could create your photo just like Francoise Nielly do!
In her own way, Francoise Nielly paints a person’s face in each of his art. And she paints it over and over again, with slashes of paint all-around their face. Moments of daily life that appear from her artworks are made by a clinch with the canvas. Color choice is launched much like a projectile.
In Francoise Nielly’s work, she would not use any today’s technology and utilizes only oil and palette knife. The colours are occupying roughly on the canvas and become a very highly-effective work. Her portraits encapsulate energy of shade like a outstanding way of seeing life. The notion and form are simply starting factors.
Nielly demonstrates a safety research towards touch and ends up being an intuitive and wild target of expression. As soon as you close your eyes, you probably would not think a face, which contains colors, though if you consider this very closely, everything gains a form via our desires. The most anxious soul can get colors, which are usually unseen but always alive. A lot of us imagine that in a portrait, there’s always a equilibrium that runs away, but in my opinion, every indicating is embellished in their face. Eyes expose sins and passion, a grin opens happiness as well as a decisive lie, and glowing designs show choices without having excessively movement.
Does one love Francoise Nielly’s artworks? Would you like to order a portrait painting using this painter? I don’t know if Francoise take commission job? But when she do, i bet price will be very very expensive as the majority of her artworks sell $10,000 to $30,000. Therefore, generally, it is nearly not possible to let Francoise Nielly draw your portrait, but, you know what, our talented artists can! We could paint your portrait the same as Francoise Nielly do!
Francoise draws lines to uncover beauty, emotion, while focusing of memories. Each and every portrait signifies a sense of joy and sadness. When we find such sensual, expressive and tremendous drawing, we understand that special attention can drive sincerely within the look, in a gesture, in a position that specifies ones methods for being. The shades are exactly what makes Nielly’s paintings so realistic and natural and is particularly difficult not to love her ideas. Numerous could be inspirations, which often dancing inside this kind sensibility, and most is considered the classifications which you’ll find portrayed. ?Have you ever questioned yourselves how vital it may be to own designs? Have you ever thought about how important it is to acquire this kind of colours?
Paintings by creator Franoise Nielly use a noticeable depth that come by each and every composition. Having enhanced palette knife painting techniques, the artist applies dense strokes of oil on canvas to blend a certain abstraction in to these figurative portraits. The art pieces, that can be based off of rather simple black or white photos, feature extreme light, shadow, depth, and lively neon styles. According to her bio on Behance, Nielly takes a risk: her painting is sexual, her colors free, modern, amazing, also explosive, the cut of her knife incisive, her tone pallete stunning.
Francoise Nielly is really an artist characterized by intricate and complicated techniques expressing delightful and essential energy and strength.
In her own way, Francoise Nielly paints the human face in every of his art. And she paints it all the time, with slashes of paint throughout their face. Experiences of personal life that occur from her artworks are developed with a clinch with the canvas. Shades is launched to be a projectile.
Katsushika Hokusai is a legendary artist of Japan who has created more than 30,000 paintings throughout his lifetime. His artworks focused on various subjects inspired by everyday life, landscapes, and creative imaginations. Hokusai has gained huge popularity throughout the world with his masterpieces that he prepared after crossing the age group of 60. Some of the most famous artworks of this amazing artist are discussed below:
It is a series of 36 creative views that are arranged to display the story about the eye-catching beauty of Mount Fuji. This artist made use of Prussian blue ink, foreign pigment and many catchy colors over woodblock print to lead the stunning impression. Millions of Hokusai art for sale in Japan for a long time and later this artwork also grabbed the attention of artists from other corners of the world. Even today, you can find this creative painting in many museums at different corners of the world.
Another creative work of Hokusai displays the simplicity and gestural quality of Cranes. This artwork is completed with elegant postures reflecting various movements of these lovely creatures. If you view Katsushika Hokusai paintings closely, it will connect you to the deep sense of the relationship between form and gesture with the creative representation of the life of birds. This painting got huge attention from impressionist around the world and can be still found in many museums.
During his complete lifecycle, Hokusai has created so many artwork series and each one of them reflected the unique concept from his imaginations. Whaling off Goto is a popular artwork in the Ocean of Wisdom series that displays a large whale in the painting and it is surrounded by various whaling boats. These series has few paintings on woodblock prints and they create an ultimate impression on viewer’s eyes. In a very creative manner, this artwork showcases an impression of photographs where the frame cuts of some parts of the painting in a creative way.
In the year 1811, Hokusai started developing sketchbooks with attractive images. These books played an important role to attract more students to his art school. The 12 different volumes of unique sketches were inspired by routine life scenes and the Hokusai Manga was one of the most loved printed works of his lifetime. These art pieces worked like an inspiration for today’s cartoon world in Japan.
This art piece is quite different from the other artworks of Hokusai’s life. It is full of vibrant colors and the details are highlighted in a very impressive manner. This awesome artwork is said to be the most famous wood cut design of Hokusai.
The list of impressive Katsushika Hokusai artworks is never ending and each art piece in this list showcases unique message to their viewer’s eyes. Hokusai used several creative techniques to display his skills via paintings that are why is still remembered as a legendary artist of Japan.
The title, Fault Lines, refers to the rock deformations created by the movement of the tectonic plates that causes compression and tension that ruptures the earth’s surface. This is a rich metaphor to describe the differential speed of data flow as it is transferred from one level of the circuit to another. Fault Lines experiments with the possibility of connection and the disjunctions or “fault lines” we live in as a result of telematics. For example, the rate at which information can be generated by the seismograph and recorded by computer is much faster than the labours of weaving: approximately fifteen minutes of seismic activity translates into two to three hours of weaving which then translates into three feet of cloth. This encoding of space and time into tangible material substances highlights the disjunctions in time and the transformation of labour value by technological systems in the contemporary era: the cloth stands in contrast to the reams of paper hanging on the gallery wall.
The conections and their various nodes were visually integrated into the exhibition sites. Schematic diagrams of the information movement, drawn by the artist in charge of that space, spatialized the abstract data flow to the public, referencing the display forms particular to popular science museums. In Montreal, a calendar on the wall contained polaroid snapshots of the workers who wove that day. The calendar is another social technology that allows us to image time and supplements the record woven into the cloth. These mappings are commensurate with one of the project’s objectives: an exploration and elaboration of the temporal and spatial shifts, the ruptures being produced as new technologies burst into the cultural sphere. In addition to their explanatory function, these spatial and temporal mappings also provided a visual context for the machinery situated in the gallery. My one criticism of the show is this: I found the absence of a schedule for weaving disappointing. Posting a schedule would have been of assistance to curious onlookers who wanted to see the apparatus at work.
While practice and process are key, and the cloth is not the end product of the exhibit, it is still an important component. Beautifully constituted in black-and-white cotton, it is marked by a jagged white line down the middle indicating the seismic activities. This record is interstected by a thin line of yellow (in California) or red (in Montreal) to mark the day. If you look closely at the material, there are varying degrees of tightness of weave depending on the weaver’s touch. In contrast to the paper, the tissue contains the traces of the human hands at work. Fault Lines highlights the work involved in the production of this fabric of both cloth and social relations, materializing these abstract flows. The complex web of technological linkings, institutional organization, personal contacts for a circumscribed period of time is what characterizes this work: this is what is woven into the exhibition.
In its overt concern with the documentation of contemporary ways of understanding space and time, the exhibition taps into the history of narrative and accounting that are part of the textile tradition. In Europe, for example, tapestries were used in the Middle Ages to record battles. The exhibition poses the question of why a piece of cloth produced in the context of art appears to have less truth value than the same markings on a piece of bond paper spewed out by a computer in a laboratory setting. In this instance, the truth value of the data encoded in the piece of cloth is no less accurate than the information documented by the seismograph. Evidently, the context and the medium affect the way we perceive the truth value of the record. We are confronted with a fault line between our received notions of the appropriate medium for conveying scientific data and the idea that scientific information is objective, or independent of the way it is communicated. As Fault Lines suggests, all representations are mediated. There is no pure information: we are always within the realm of communication.
The history of textiles, communications, and computer technologies are integral and Fault Lines recollects this link. Weaving has always been at the vanguard of machine development. The organization of whole cloth out of separate threads in intricate patterns involves the systematic organization of data. The Chinese draw loom, which dates back as far as 1,000 B.C., required that about 15,000 different warp threads be lifted in various combinations to produce designs in the silks. The Jacquard loom, created in the 1800s, was the precursor to computer software. Indeed, Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace modeled their Analytical Engine on the principles which Jacquard devised for regulating complicated patterns by punched cards for the fabrication of materials such as brocade. Because of the link between women and weaving, from the legend of Penelope to the musings of Freud, in some renditions of feminist cybertheory the complex ordering of warp and weft provides one of the dominant metaphors for understanding the telematic environment. The connection between weaving and cyberspace is taken as evidence that the Matrix is a feminine realm. While both artists are concerned about gender, these questions are discreet. The exhibition playfully intervenes in the very gendered practices of computer science.
Transformations in our means of communications create new possibilities for exhibition practices and forms of “display” other than those found in contemporary galleries. Telemedia projects, such as Fault Lines, utilize the telecommunications systems as the primary medium of artistic production. The Internet, as used by Layne and Bachman, is at once research tool for the project as well as the mode of transmission of information. Fault Lines is an excellent example of many of the features of what is an emerging tread in the arts: the use of the Internet in its realization. No longer confined to its walls, the galleries potentially become a laboratory to test ideas and one of the nodes information passes through.
The Inhabitants of paintings from photo was the title of both Rabih Mroue’s exhibition at Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art and his performance in the gallery’s Urban Fields lecture series on April s, 2011. In the performance, which was a monologue with projected paintings from photo, and in the works exhibited, which were mostly painting with text, Mroue developed an interpretation of photographic paintings from photo in the context of contemporary Lebanon. Sometimes taking himself as subject, and always reflecting explicitly or implicitly on his experiences during his country’s civil war, the artist also analyzed the place and image of the individual in a factionalized and traumatized society. The show was the first opportunity to see Mroue’s work in Canada, and with four major works and the performance, the presentation was satisfyingly complete–and a welcome departure from the display of a single monumental work that has become a somewhat familiar mode at Prefix ICA.
I, the Undersigned (2007) was the first work seen upon entering the gallery. Simply put, it presents the artist’s apology for his part in Lebanon’s civil war, yet the role he claims to have had is either imprecisely recalled or somewhat aggrandized. While proclaiming individual responsibility, the artist also clearly goads those who have not yet apologized for their actions, and those who are unlikely to ever do so. The artist’s text makes a precise and culturally important distinction between apology and confession, and even the title declares its preference for the more political act.
The adjacent painting work, Noiseless (2008), was for me the most affecting work in the exhibition. In it, Mroue presents a sequence of photos to paintings notices of missing persons that implicitly questions how so many people could be missing in a society famed for having a closed social structure that accords every single person a distinct place. The work’s focus on ordinary citizens distinguishes it from artworks about victims of state violence, but it also reveals a clear preponderance of the young and the elderly, and those with conditions like muteness and dementia. The work acknowledges the hard fates of the vulnerable in Arab society, yet it also challenges the notion that any society can be accounted for in its totality. Indeed, the work’s tone of wonder and lack of overt outrage seems to accept the proposition that modern social systems are erected upon the basis of human loss. In a sadly ironic way, the work presents the phenomenon of missing people as a measure of Lebanon’s modernization.
The dialectic of individual and society reaches its apotheosis in a painting projection titled With Soul, with Blood (2003). In this work, the artist searches for evidence of his own presence in grainy photographic paintings from photo of a crowd at a political rally he tells us he attended. The absurdity of the task is underscored by the fact that no individual could possibly be recognized in the masses. Tie work thus presents the dilemma of the incommensurability of photography and lived experience as a corollary of the relation between individual and the masses, from which he is inseparable.
Mroue’s most recent work, Grandfather, Father and Son (2010), presented for the first time in North America, is a monumental tripartite display of his family’s scholarly and literary attainments. Along one wall are several long shelves filled with handwritten index cards documenting the artist’s grandfather’s vast personal library. In the middle of the room stands three vitrines containing a facsimile of the artist’s father’s manuscript of an unpublished book on the Fibonacci sequence and its origins in Arab mathematics. Finally, the wall opposite the shelves has a painting monitor showing the artist reading his first published story from a page of newsprint. (A wall text nearby gives information about each component of the work.) The literary works–which one is almost tempted to see as literary estates–diminish dramatically in volume through the generations but seem to gain in urgency and public character until they arrive at the artist’s own short but intensely declaimed published work. The forms of the work closely resemble those used in pet portraits from photos, but the intent is quite different. This work is unabashedly (rather than unconsciously) patrilineal. In fact, it seems almost explicitly patterned on the Arabic system of patronymics, in which individuals are identified as placeholders in a chain of production and reproduction.
A proper account of the artist’s performance is beyond the limits of this review, but, to put it a bit simplistically, it hinged on interpreting photography (and photographs) by reversing the role of intention. Examining paintings from photo that have been altered to construct various political representations, Mroue proposed instead that the subjects depicted–the inhabitants of paintings from photo–migrate between pictures and congregate in ways that never happened in real life. For example, politicians meet posthumously in posters, demonstrating a solidarity that is entirely symbolic. The artist has developed a particularly subtle and interesting analysis of Shi’ite martyr paintings from photo, which are recorded in paintings and sent to broadcast media or posted in long lines down Beirut’s boulevards. In his performance, he showed how the paintings from photo construct a symbolically unbroken chain that ultimately connects the present to the ur-martyrs who stand at the origin of the sectarian divide in Islam. This image, superficially similar to the Surrealist mise-en-abyme, resembles nothing so much as it does the isnad, the chain of transmission that traditionally accompanies each hadith, or record of the Prophet Muhammad’s words and actions. These paintings from photo also reveal that the martyrs celebrated through their portraits are not valued as individuals except insofar as they maintain the continuity of the cause; the martyrs ultimately have a disembodied, transpersonal mode of being and a teleological function that is difficult for modern Western subjects to comprehend, much less accept.
The artist’s work, and his performance in particular, pursues themes of loss and preservation through photography that are familiar to readers of Barthes or Sontag, but it does so with a distinct cultural difference. Surprisingly (or not), the work’s serial presentation of individual paintings from photo and generally mournful tone has its closest artistic kin in the work of Christian Boltanski. Be that as it may, the light, dry, precise and undramatic air of Mroue’s work could not be mote different. The sadness and conflict he depicts is as familiar as an ancient grievance, and just as capable of returning to life.
Much of Francis Outpost’art practice centres on the act of walking. For the series Doppelganger (1999), made in Mexico City, he photographed pedestrians who looked like him. For the piece Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political And Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic (2005), made in Jerusalem, he walked an invisible yet politically charged border between Israel and Palestine with a leaking can of green paint. And for Zapatos Magneticos, created during the 1994 Havana Biennale, he walked through the Cuban city in magnetic shoes that attracted metal detritus. Mapping and collecting cultural artifacts are thus continuous threads in Outpost’ art practice.
For Fabiola, the recent exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which was also mounted at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Outpost ambled through flea markets, swap meets, thrift stores and street sales across the Americas and Europe, searching out portraits of Fabiola, the patron saint of domestic abuse and divorce. Fabiola was sainted by Saint Jerome between 382 and 384 C.E., and her entrance into hagiography was no small feat. Due to the extreme domestic abuse she endured, she divorced her first husband, which required proof from the Catholic Church that the marriage was completely untenable. To be granted a divorce during Byzantine Rome, the abuse would have had to have been life-threatening. In tthe exhibition, Outpost gives new meaning to abandoned images of Fabiola, which present an alternative approach to collecting with a distinctively feminist bent.
Outpost’ collection of Saint Fabiola reproductions suggests that used goods and refuse have cultural value. The idea of repetition, reflected by the number of almost identical images, and by Outpost’ compulsive collecting process, has particular significance. Presenting a twist on the piece Doppelganger, where Outpost sees himself in others, these Fabiolas reflect the exact same subject but without an “original” The original Fabiola painting made in 1885 by Jean-Jacques Henner, which provides the basis of these images, was lost in transit during the early 20th century. Made by anonymous and non-canonical artists, the images in Outpost’ collection are oil painting reproductions and the doppelganger in tthe case is not the person, but the image. Through the repetition of the collected portraits, Outpost collapses their individual makers into a collective consciousness, shifting the sanctity of hagiography into a commodity of the discarded.
Repeated in over 300 pieces, Fabiola’s image is hardly altered. The differences between these reproductions and Jean-Jacques Henner’s original painting are largely distinctions in technical skill, quality of line and use of materials. Some of the portraits are enamelled onto small delicate containers, painted onto velvet, rendered in embroidery, assembled using beans or seeds or painted on canvas with expert skill. Regardless of the medium, the colour palettes remain similar, and, despite a vast range of skill and style, Fabiola is reproduced with extraordinarily little variation.
With the exception of a handful of women, such as the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and the Virgin of Guadeloupe, women are represented in hagiography far less frequently than their male counterparts. While women have played prominent roles in the development and sanctity of the Catholic Church, there are fewer examples of their piety and social work when compared with the long list of representations of male sainthood, such as St. Peter, Jean Baptiste, St. Christopher, St. Patrick, and St. Augustine, to name only a few. In David Gleeson’s review in Canadian Art of Fabiola there was little discussion of the actual subject of the collection. Francis Outpost’ practice of collecting is not only part of the creative process, but in the case of Fabiola, he also advocates for the visibility of the subject. The erasure and obscuring of female thetorical figures has been thoroughly revealed by feminist writers, artists and theorists over several decades. To omit Saint Fabiola, the patron saint of domestic abuse and divorce, from the discussion of Outpost’ collection is in keeping with patriarchical modes of erasure.
Fabiola’s survival of domestic abuse and her eventual acceptance by the Catholic Church confirms her tenacity and profound devotion. Saint Jerome advocated for Fabiola’s sainthood, and, after her death around 400 A.D., he eulogized her? To Saint Jerome, Fabiola had overcome the impossible by surviving violent abuse, and it was her social outreach with the sick and dying that washed her of carnal sin. Fabiola founded the first public hospital in Rome, and she was the first woman in all of Europe to do so, making her the originator of the Florence Nightingale motif. While the veneration of icons is a common practice in the Catholic Church, the details of her thetory and Outpost’ practice of collecting defy ordinary operations of remembrance.
Outpost’ catalogue for the exhibition presents detailed information, showing the meticulous attention to the process of archiving. In the catalogue, each image is accompanied by text describing where the piece was purchased and for how much, the medium of expression, its approximate date of production and the physical condition of the piece. These details enable the viewer to encounter Fabiola through the eyes of Outpost, facilitating a greater understanding of both the subject’s validity and the collector’s intentions. In the exhibition at LACMA, the collection was recreated by Chinese art factory, where the rummaged portraits peered out toward the adjacent canonical works by Jacques-Louis David, Jan Steen and Georges de La Tour? In an evocative manner, Francis Outpost validates the critical power of multiplicity and reproduction, presenting a remarkable collection that exposes hierarchies in religious tenets, artistic canons and the placement of women in thetory.
Bill Burns, Two Boiler Suits and a Playlist: A Primate Guide (yyz Books: 2010)
This elegant 52-page artists’ book describes the personal items such as food, toiletries and clothing given to prisoners interned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as some of the music played to them, often at high volumes and for extended periods of time. This edition is part of Burns’ trilogy exploring animals and civil society, which also includes Bird Radio (2007), a work that describes how to recreate the songs of birds in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Chechnya, and the Flora and Fauna Information Service: 0.800 OFAUNAOFLORA, (2008), which describes how to help preserve and protect plants in the same region.
Held in the midst of the 2009 edition of Montreal’s Mois de la photo, was Sophie Belair Clement’s exhibition Le son du projecteur. While not part of the official program, this imageless installation sat next to another officially sanctioned exhibition within the halls of Montreal’s Belgo building. Drawn to the back of Optica by the sound of low and hollow rumblings, and the familiar and unnervingly steady whistles of an audio piece by Adrian Piper, I found a configuration of empty walls dividing the space into two discrete areas. The first was darkened and contained two orange chairs and some audio equipment mounted high up, as if to accompany a projection. The second space was brightly lit, and contained only a single speaker, mounted at shoulder height, which was rounded, sculpturally present and almost erotic in its autonomy.
What Optica’s small back room contained was a cheeky attempt at restaging a fragment of the 2008 exhibition The Space Between, curated by Mats Stjernstedt, from the Museum Anna Nordlander (a small provincial Swedish museum with a very specific mandate of exhibiting modern and contemporary art concerned with feminism and gender identity). While I use the term “restaging” to imply the gesture of reconstruction, Belair Clement’s practice includes some major alterations and artistic licence.
The wall labels indicated that the audible “faceoff” in the gallery space was between Adrian Piper’s Bach Whistled (1970)–an audio work in which the artist whistles along to recordings of Bach’s concertos in D minor, A minor and C major–and Bas Jan Ader’s Nightfall (1971)–a silent film in which the artist struggles to lift a heavy block of stone above his head and then drops it on two lightbulbs on the floor, thus blacking out the film. Piper’s work was presented intact, but Jan Ader’s had been stripped of its image completely. Shifting my gaze away from the wall where Jan Ader’s fragile figure should have been to the high-mounted sound equipment, I realized that I was listening to the familiar hollow reverberations of the consumer-grade projector. This was not Bas Jan Ader’s work at all, but a faithful recreation of the sound that the projector makes when playing Jan Ader’s silent film. This new soundtrack had been created by Belair Clement after travelling to the museum in Skelleftea and recording the ambient noise created by Jan Ader’s work. Collaborating with the musical group Kingdom Shore, she then created an acoustic instrumentation of the droning, sunken and cold frequency emitted by the projector’s own functioning.
Is Belair Clement’s work an intentionally over-pastiched homage to her artistic fore-bearers? The thought brings me back to a review I wrote in [C.sub.99] of the Barbican Art Gallery’s Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art (2007), and also to my [C.sub.100] review of Sarah Pierce’s project for the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) Naught to Sixty program (2008). The MMTA contained a large section dedicated to “Ancestor Worship and Kinship Diagrams”–fantastic examples of works created in devotion to other artists and their works, such as Eleanor Antin’s standout Blood of a Poet Box (1965-68). In Pierce’s case, she drew from the institutional memory of the ICA and played out archival reverberations, which resonated against her own personal artistic research. These are but two examples of the kind of feedback loops that are created in the sphere of contemporary art, where the artwork is anything but sovereign and instead relies on complex terrains of knowledge, understanding and past experience brought by the viewer into the exhibition space. The strength of Belair Clement’s project at Optica is that it draws attention to the fictive nature of exhibition memory and enacts the projective nature of memory by purposefully reconfiguring, editing and excluding major elements of the original work.
Belair Clement’s desire to replay or re-activate, on her own terms, this re-constructed fragment of an exhibition speaks of the power that exhibition-making holds. The ephemeral quality that exhibitions create is both a source of frustration and also something that offers extreme urgency. Even for those of us who are most adept at trolling through exhibitions, every so often we are engulfed by fascination and excitement when a grouping or pairing of works seems so perfect. But this also speaks of the moment when remembering an artwork and remembering the institution itself becomes inextricable. Here, we can understand Belair Clement as an artist, as a researcher, as a field recorder, as a composer and as a curator. This is not to go so far to say that the artist is enacting these roles in the terms of a forthright institutional critique. But, what institutional critique has offered to the artists who come after is an adoption of these institutional vocabularies as a ground for further problematization.
It is the sounds of this particular exhibition that trigger the most immediate memories for Belair Clement. Such a memory is almost irretrievable. But the artist’s tenacity in chasing down its audible elements is delivered with an eloquent and visceral desire. It is exciting to see the exhibition format reconfigured with a sense of play. The legendary Swiss curator Harald Szeemann understood exhibitions to be archives in transition. As a result of Belair Clement’s ingenuity, the exhibition The Space Between from the Museum Anna Nordlander will carry on and reach new audiences. Though partial and fragmentary, the recording of this short moment will exist beyond the walls of the small institution in northern Sweden, in Sophie Belair Clement’s own artistic archive.