How the virtual constitutes a manner to represent the actual; how is established a definition of the real from the unreal or how simulation, absence, and the phantasmal represent ways to approach concepts such as time and space. These are among the concerns that guide Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Ines Schaber, Stepan Pente, Judith Hopf and Deborah Schamoni in the exhibition “No Matter How Bright The Light, The Crossing Occurs at Night”. Organized by the Kunst-Werke Berlin, this appealingly titled show is exhibited now at the Extra City, a not very known contemporary art center in the outskirts of Ambers. The exhibition, in both venues, has been curated by Anselm Franke, current director of Extra City, and whose selection was fundamentally owed to his concern for the spectral and the possibilities of its representation and conceptual transformation.
At the entrance, the viewer is asked to comply with the duration of every piece, as well as with their arrangement, since the works are progressively activated as the viewer moves through the space. In this manner, during a 35 minutes experience, every piece has its moment of relevance thanks to the light that illuminates them one at a time, while the rest is immersed in complete darkness. As soon as we enter the space, the lights of the only separate area are switched off. Then, a fragment of the book “Empire of the Senseless”, by Kathy Acker, appears on the wall, written with neon lights. This first part of Sadr’s work, homonym of the book, encourages a question of the coherence implied by the fact of assaulting or socially rejecting a person because of his condition. After two minutes, the lights are on again and we are invited to enter a long room in darkness. Suddenly, a light illuminates a video by Pente, who, just like Sadr, is interested in a conceptual analysis of inclusion and exclusion as pre-established forms of social construction. Once this video concludes, another one begins: the one made by Hopf and Schamoni, titled Hospital Bone Dance (2006), which narrates with humor the strange events occurred to a nurse in her work, all of them related to disappearances of people at the hospital.
After an individual installation by Hopf, we have the second part of Sadr’s work: a double projection in which words such as man, woman, grandmother, death, friend, mutant, foam, Arab or boy rotate on the wall, as soon as the viewer comes into the superimposed projection booths. The discourse is supported by the visibility of the spectator’s figure, who, by virtue of his absence or presence, constructs the narrative in a game both between his visibility and invisibility and with the projected words, which are superimposed between the wall and the visitor himself. On his part, through the use of a series of photographs of urban and natural landscapes that hover between the phantasmagoric and the realistic, Schaber provides a new gaze about the public memory of a town in Pennsylvania, constituting the most explicit proposal in this exhibition about the visibility of the spectral. In this manner, the selection of pieces constitutes a delimited and no less interesting approach to the visibility from the perspective of its relation to reality –which has been shown here in a wide-ranging conceptual gradation that, in some cases, demands to spend the required time and a meditative reading in order to perceive potential meanings.
ARTECONTEXTO. Arte, cultura, nuevos medios. Madrid, No. 14 . pp. 102-103.
“No Matter How Bright the Light, the Crossing Occurs at Night”. Extra City. Centrum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Amberes
03.09.06 - 12.11.06conceptual art, photography, installation, videoart
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Topic: 2006, European Art, Past exhibitions Tags: conceptual art, photography, installation, videoart