Alberta Whittle, Cyprien Gaillard, Haris Epaminonda, Hiwa K, James Nguyen & Victoria Pham, Sarah Morris, Yael Bartana
1st February – 7th May 2022
Anna Schwartz Gallery
Peripheral Vision takes the form of a series of singular presentations over the course of fourteen weeks. Importantly, the exhibition places emphasis on an embodied relationship to viewing video that has been largely lost in recent months.
The exhibition inaugurates video works in Australia that, collectively, provide a contemporary view of the world from a variety of perspectives. The selection of works was influenced by the last occasions the curators were physically able to view art together, and their subsequent and ongoing digital/virtual exchange and dialogue since borders closed. An exchange that was able to be maintained through video, which has become a primary medium for us to engage new work and its ideas.
In their distinct ways, each of the seven works in this exhibition poetically engage the urgent issues of our time. Through these works we traverse the earth, and are confronted by what remains out of reach; much like edges of the visual field. Recently, a lot has been written about the central nervous system in times of great stress. Stress reduces our field of vision, but this response can be counteracted by shifting our point of view – by dilating our gaze we can see further into the periphery, helping us to discover what’s there.
Curated by Lewis Gilbert & Tania Doropoulos
Pre-Image, Porto, 2014
from the series ‘Mirror’ (2010 – ongoing)
HD video, colour, sound
6 minutes, 34 seconds
Courtesy the artist & KOW
1st – 12th February
Pre-Image documents a performance in Porto, Gdansk and Vienna, among others, and between Greece and Rome along the way. On his forehead Hiwa K balances a bar on which motorbike mirrors are mounted. The DIY navigation instrument reflects the environment in which he is walking. The balancing act and the fragmented image in the mirrors compel the artist to err on the side of caution. The vertical gaze that he uses to move forward horizontally is fragmented, distorted, unreliable. This allows him to re-experience the lack of stability in the midst of his constant state of movement during his migration. The title Pre-Image refers to the difference between how we imagine the places we want to reach, their possibilities before they become images, and how they are in reality; the contrast between vertically imagined places and the horizontal reality in which we experience places on the ground. The performance shows Hiwa K’s first impressions of the cities he discovers on his escape route. Interpreted as a reconstruction of his migratory past, of which he has no photographs, the performance could also be called a ‘post-image’.
Hiwa K was born in Kurdistan-Northern Iraq in 1975. His informal studies in his home town Sulaymaniyah were focused on European literature and philosophy, learnt from available books translated into Arabic. After moving to Europe in 2002, Hiwa K studied music as a pupil of the Flamenco master Paco Peña in Rotterdam, and subsequently settled in Germany. His works escape normative aesthetics but give a possibility of another vibration to vernacular forms, oral histories (Chicago boys, 2010), modes of encounter (Cooking with Mama, 2006) and political situations (This lemon tastes of apple, 2011). The repository of his references consists of stories told by family members and friends, found situations as well as everyday forms that are the products of pragmatics and necessity. He continuously critiques the art education system and the professionalization of art practice, as well as the myth of the individual artist. Many of his works have a strong collective and participatory dimension, and express the concept of obtaining knowledge from everyday experience rather than doctrine.
Hiwa K participated in various group shows such as Manifesta 7, Trient (2008), La Triennale, Intense Proximity, Paris (2012), the “Edgware Road Project” at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2012), the Venice Biennale (2015) and documenta14, Kassel/Athens (2017). A selection of recent solo shows include the New Museum, NYC (2018), S.M.A.K., Ghent (2018), Kunstverein Hannover (2018), Jameel Arts Center Dubai (2020) and Museum Abteiberg (2021). In 2016 he received the Arnold Bode Prize and the Schering Stiftung Art Award and had a solo exhibition at KW, Berlin (2017). His “Chicago Boys” project is continuously hosted by international institutions.
Tashlikh (Cast Off), 2017
HD video, colour, sound
Courtesy the artist & Petzel Gallery
15th – 26th February
Yael Bartana’s Tashlikh serves as a platform for both perpetrators and survivors of various genocides or ethnic persecutions – the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, as well as Sudanese and Eritrean ethnic cleansing or civil wars – to confront their personal material links to the horrors of the past. For this project, a filmic meeting point was created for people and objects, in which they symbolically rid themselves of objects that have survived the traumas of genocide. Inspired by the Jewish custom of “Tashlikh” where casting bread or other objects into a river symbolises a relinquishing of sins, Bartana’s work generates a new ritual that consists of the deliberate discarding of objects as a means of psychological liberation.
Yael Bartana is an observer of the contemporary and a pre-enactor. She employs art as a scalpel inside the mechanisms of power structures and navigates the fine and crackled line between the sociological and the imagination. Over the past twenty years, she has dealt with some of the dark dreams of the collective unconscious and reactivated the collective imagination, dissected group identities and (an-)aesthetic means of persuasion. In her films, installations, photographs, staged performances and public monuments Yael Bartana investigates subjects like national identity, trauma, and displacement, often through ceremonies, memorials, public rituals and collective gatherings.
Her work has been exhibited worldwide, and is represented in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She currently lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam.
Selected solo exhibitions: Fondazione Modena Arti Visive (2019÷2020); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2018); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015); Secession, Vienna (2012); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2012); Moderna Museet, Malmö (2010); MoMA PS1, New York (2008). Selected group exhibitions: São Paulo Biennial (2014, 2010, 2006); Berlin Biennial (2012); documenta 12 (2007); Istanbul Biennial (2005), Manifesta 4 (2002). Yael Bartana won the Artes Mundi 4 Prize (2010), and the trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned was ranked as the 9th most important art work of the 21th century by the Guardian newspaper (2019).
James Nguyen & Victoria Pham
a Drumstick is a Hammer, 2022
HD video, colour, stereo sound
70 minutes, 54 seconds
Courtesy the artists
1st – 12th March
A three part video and sound collage on the violence of infinite distance – the murky interstitial fluid of history, exile, and silence. Working across oceans and adjusting to daylight-saving time, the artists explore the drumstick as a tool of percussive disruption. The drumstick strikes at fragments, prods and pokes at bodies and thick membranes. She creates a rhythm that helps us to reconnect and speak without speaking. a Drumstick is a Hammer.
James Nguyen is an Australian artist and filmmaker based in Melbourne. He has been commissioned by institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, the Museum of Contemporary Art for the National 2019, and others. A past recipient of the Maddocks Art prize and the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, James has had the opportunity to develop projects and work collaboratively on experimental documentary, research and curatorial exchanges in NYC, Europe and the Asia Pacific.
Victoria Pham is an installation artist, composer and evolutionary biologist. She currently is a PhD Candidate in Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her specialisation is in archaeo-acoustic technology and the evolution of music. Her work is driven by explorations into the connections between second-hand memory, examining modes of decolonisation, communal storytelling and ecological expressions of construction.
stills, digitised super 8 film, colour, sound
34 minutes, 15 seconds
Sound by Kelly Jayne Jones
Courtesy the artist & Rodeo
15th – 26th March
Chimera in Greek mythology is a female fire-breathing hybrid monster, with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a serpent for a tail. Meditating on time, place, and memory the film is an experimental audio-visual travelogue. Following the rays of the sun and tracing its shadows, it acts as an optical mirage. The film takes as its starting point super 8 film footage shot in and around the Californian desert in 2014; most of which was damaged during development. Using this rescued footage, together with shots taken on different travels, the film oscillates between reality and fantasy, nature and culture, light and darkness. Kelly Jayne Jones, a sound and performance artist composed and created the ambient electronic score of the film.
Haris Epaminonda often uses existing materials such as photographs sourced from books and found objects, sculpture, text and collage, assembled and combined with structures and supports she has designed herself. Her installations conjure up visual puzzles that suggest a multitude of meanings.
Her language often tends to abstraction, evoking mysterious atmospheres that defy precise classification. Many of her shows surprise the viewer with the fragmentary way that scattered, rhythmic units are reassembled into something only at the end of the exhibition. Everything is on the borders, at the edges, hidden in the corners, suspended … until, as one proceeds, the space redefines and reshapes itself, like the syllables of a phrase being gradually revealed.
Haris Epaminonda has presented solo exhibitions at Secession, Vienna (2018); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2017); TENT, Rotterdam (2015); Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2014); Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia (2013); Modern Art Oxford, UK (2013); Kunsthaus Zürich (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2011); Tate Modern, London (2010); and Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2009). Her work was included in dOCUMENTA, Kassel (2012), and in 2007, Epaminonda co-represented Cyprus at the 52nd Venice Biennale.
Her works are represented in the permanent collections of Deste Foundation of Contemporary Art, Athens; Frac-ile-de-France, Paris; Kunsthaus Zürich; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris; National Centre for Visual Arts (CNAP), Paris; TATE Modern, London.
35mm/Magic Pixel Box, 84 minutes, 47 seconds
Courtesy the artist & White Cube
29th March – 9th April
Beijing observes the overwhelmingly perplexing and contradictory economy and politics of China. The film explores the spectacle that unfolded during the opening of the 2008 Olympics. Shot from multiple perspectives and given unprecedented access by the International Olympic Committee, Beijing captures the variances within the city, from the urban routine of its citizens to the choreographed actions of various heads of state. Morris employs the notion of duality, coupling it with the constant presence of the spectacle or the event and its constant multiple interpretations. Morris’s version of cinema vérité uses not only architecture and its infrastructure as phantom characters, but also exposes political leaders, Olympic athletes, actors, film directors, and architects in a quasi-narrative about this developing city that opens up numerous fictional possibilities and questions the authorship of the spectacle itself and ultimately, the role of the artist.
Since the mid-1990s, Sarah Morris has been making abstract paintings and films to investigate what she describes as “urban, social and bureaucratic typologies”. These works, based on different cities, are derived from close inspection of architectural details combined with a critical sensitivity to the psychology of a city and its key protagonists.
Morris began her career making graphic paintings that adapted the dramatic, emotive language used in newspaper and advertising tag lines. Her city-based paintings are executed in household gloss paint on square canvases, employing rigorous, all-over grids that reference architectural motifs, signs or urban vistas. Their vivid colours derive from each city’s unique vocabulary and palette, but, most importantly, its dynamic. In her film work, Morris both seduces and alienates the viewer, employing different kinds of cinematography, from documentary recording to seemingly set-up narrative scenarios. In her film Los Angeles (2005), for instance, Morris explores an industry fuelled by fantasy and examines the trenchant relationship between studio, producer, director and talent. In Capital, part of Morris’ series about Washington DC, Morris gained unprecedented access to the inside workings of Clinton’s last days in office.
Following Los Angeles, Morris embarked on more intimate portrait films, such as Robert Towne (2005) and 1972 (2008), which shift the viewpoint from the panorama of a city to an individual portrait of one of its protagonists, as a way of examining it from the inside out. Following these works, Morris made Beijing (2008), a film about one of the most intricate and ambiguous international broadcasted events of past years — the 2008 Olympic Games.
Sarah Morris has exhibited extensively including solo exhibitions at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2018); Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland (2017); M Museum, Leuven, Belgium (2015); Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany (2013); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2012); Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland (2008); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001); and Modern Art Oxford, UK (1999). Group exhibitions include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017); Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London (2003); 25th Bienal de São Paulo (2002); and 4th Site Santa Fe Biennial, New Mexico (2001).
HOLDING THE LINE (JUNE 2020), 2020
2K and HD video, mobile phone footage
Courtesy the artist & Copperfield
12th – 23rd April
Taking the voice of the River Thames as its starting point, Whittle worked with science fiction writer Ama Josephine Budge, for Holding the Line. Whittle’s video looks at colonial histories, police brutality and imagined futures offering time and space for healing and reset.
Alberta Whittle is an artist, researcher and curator. She was chosen for the Margaret Tait Award for 2018⁄9, the Turner Prize 2020 bursary, the Henry Moore Foundation artist award 2020 and the Frieze Artist Award 2020. Her creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-blackness. Oscillating between cutting humour and sensitive poetics her work ranges across media and across continents.
Current and upcoming projects include Fragments of Epic Memory, AGO, Toronto; We are History, Somerset House, London; Sex Ecologies, Kunstal Trondheim; Life Between Islands, Caribbean-British Artists 1950s — now, Tate Britain, London; British Art Show 9; Life Support: Forms of Care in Art and Activism, Hayward Gallery Touring.
Alberta Whittle will represent Scotland at the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2022.
Ocean II Ocean, 2019
HD color video with sound
10 minutes 56 seconds
Courtesy the artist & Sprüth Magers
26th April – 7th May
As with much of Cyprien Gaillard’s work, his film Ocean II Ocean (2019) connects disparate, evocative references into a concerto of images, sound, and movement. The film is divided into two main sections that follow upon each other in an infinite loop. In the first, Gaillard’s camera focuses on fossils encrusted in the underground walls of metro stations in Russia and the former Soviet Bloc, such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev, Tblisi, and Berlin. Constructed by the Communist Régime as a propaganda tool to celebrate Soviet power and ingenuity, the stations are clad in marble quarried from various Soviet mountain ranges. As in Gaillard’s new sculptures, the fossils speak to the prehistoric, watery histories of the sites that generated these materials; brought together from so many different places and periods, they coexist in these final, politically loaded locations.
The other half of Ocean II Ocean follows MTA subway cars on a journey across tracks, through bridges, onto barges, and then out to sea, ceremoniously dumped into the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to benefit aquatic life — glimpses of an artificial reefing program whose goals in many ways mirror those of Rigs to Reefs. Diving below the water’s surface, the camera captures marine animals moving among the steel carriages. Moreover, the frenetic energy of the film’s soundtrack, produced by Gaillard from samples of recordings of a steel pan orchestra, connects these stainless steel carcasses with the percussive sound of steel, as if its vibrations might be emanating from the train cars themselves. Known for their carnivalesque echoes, steel pans are historically from Trinidad and Tobago and traditionally made from discarded oil barrels, whose original contents relate both to the creation of fossil fuel and to the contemporary pollution and demise of underwater life. Connecting Ocean II Ocean’s two segments is a lush, albeit deceptive, vortex that is revealed to be a stainless steel New York public toilet, mid-flush. Its flowing movements link the work’s segments and avert any breakage in sound or image, emphasizing the cyclical nature not only of Gaillard’s film, but also of the shifting cycles of draining and rising that the world’s oceans have experienced and continue to undergo.
Ocean II Ocean premiered at the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2019.
Cyprien Gaillard (b. 1980, Paris) lives and works in Berlin. He is the recipient of numerous prices such as Arken Art Prize and Award for Best Experimental Short Film, Melbourne International Film Festival (both 2016), Preis der Nationalgalerie (2011) and Prix Marcel Duchamp (2010). Gaillard holds a degree from L’École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne. Selected solo exhibitions include: Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2021), TANK Shanghai (2019), Accelerator Konsthall, Stockholm (2019), Museum Tinguely, Basel (2019), K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf (2016), Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf (2015), MoMA PS1, New York (2013), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013), Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2012), Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2012), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011), and Kunsthalle Basel (2010). Significant group exhibitions include: Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2021), Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (2021), GAMeC, Bergamo (2021), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2020), 58th Venice Biennale (2019), Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles (2019), Cleveland Triennial (2018), Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018), Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2018), ARoS Triennial, Aarhus (2017), The Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2017), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2017), Hayward Gallery, London (2016), 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015), 54th Venice Biennale (2011), Gwangju Biennale (2010) and 5th Berlin Biennale (2008).