Tag Archives: video art

Sarah Abu Abdallah: You Will Never Have Full Custody of Your Life

sarah-abu-abdallah

sarah-abu-abdallahsarah-abu-abdallah

Sarah Abu Abdallah, The Salad Zone, 2013, Saudi Automobil, 2012 and Video Still from The Salad Zone, 2013

Sarah Abu Abdallah works primarily with video and film as a medium. She grew up in Qatif, Saudi Arabia has an MFA in Digital Media at the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent participations include include Prospectif Cinema Filter Bubble in Centre Pompidou, Paris, Private Settings in the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Arab Contemporary in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Migrating Forms in NYC, the Serpentine Galleries 89plus Marathon in London, the 11th Sharjah Biennial 2013, Rhizoma in the 55th Venice biennale 2013. Contributed to Arts and Culture in Transformative Times Festival by ArteEast, NYC and the Moving image panel on Video + Film in Palazzo Grassi, Venice. See her catalogue of work on Vimeo here.

Sarah Abu Abdallah studied art in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s more liberal neighbour, making her return to the strictures of life in Saudi Arabia hard. Her film Saudi Automobile tells of her frustration at the ban on women driving. It features a car she found crashed by the side of a road, which she painted pink. ‘This wishful gesture was the only way I could get myself a car,’ she says. “Painting a wrecked car like icing a cake, as if beautifying the exterior would help fix the lack of functionality within the car. This wishful gesture was the only way I could get myself a car – cold comfort for the current impossibility of my dream that I, as an independent person, can drive myself to work one day.”

Saudi Automobil, 2012 depicts Sarah Abu Abdallah painting the shell of a wrecked car with light pink paint, a gesture of defiance against Saudi Arabia’s prohibition on women drivers, which makes mobility the exclusive privilege of men. After sweltering in her abaya under the hot sun, Abdallah finally retreats to the passenger seat, reflecting her place in Saudi society. For the exhibition ‘Soft Power’ Abu Abdallah installed the painted car in the gallery space, further emphasising the limits of her rights to vehicle ownership.

‘I don’t call for extreme freedom,’ she says. ‘But we grow up at a very young age here and the more you grow up the more you realise you will never have full custody of your life.’ Her work, it seems, is Abu Abdallah’s lifeline. She reads about it rapaciously, ordering massive tomes from abroad about abstract expressionism and performance art. ‘Being a woman in Saudi may be really restricting,’ she says, ‘but being a female Saudi artist is very good at the moment. I want to join that wave.’

Sifting through the absolute, the predefined, constructs of anxiety, and the absurdity of the agreed-upon in a time of excess, in her work The Salad Zone, 2013. How does one place one’s coordinates in the physical, metaphysical, and the digital citizenry? It is said that the gravitational forces exerted by the planets affect the circulation of human bodies and emotions as much as they affect the oceans. Youtube and google image search help to assemble an uncomfortable space for a question spanning practices of compulsion and purification. Continuing on a previous question of how in a hyper-connected world, does one place one’s coordinates in the physical, metaphysical, and the digital citizenry.  Sarah Abu Abdallah’s series q-VR, draws a mental collage using the everyday, references to virtual reality and old photos of the artist’s father in his youth to make up a fictional world through images.

In her work The Turbulence of Sea and Blood, 2015, we see disarrayed glimpses of multiple narratives such as that of: familial domestic tensions, a juvenile dream of going to Japan, the tendency to smash TVs in moments of anger, and eating fish. While using scenes from the artist’s surroundings and life in Saudi Arabia, like streets or malls, it never attempts to provide the whole picture, but takes a rhizomatic approach to tell a story of the everyday life.

Read Full Article

Lars Laumann

Lars Laumann  Lars Laumann Lars Laumann

Lars Laumann, Season of Migration to the North, 2015, Kari & Knut, 2009-2010 and Duett (Med styrken i vår tro i en sang, i en sang), 2010

The exhibition Kompendium with the Norwegian artist Lars Laumann features a selection of video works from 2006 until today. By filming, editing, and juxtaposing a mix of appropriated materials and subjectively experienced narratives, Laumann creates virtuoso, visual film collages that feature an extensive cast of characters. His collaborations with artists, filmmakers, and musicians clearly influence the final result. The artist seeks inspiration from the margins of pop culture and explores people and phenomena on the outskirts of society. With a global perspective on both pop culture icons and contemporary political events, Laumann sheds light on the more complex forces of our culture.

‘Kompendium’ is small in scale but broad in scope. The span of Lars Laumann’s works takes in the fishing industries in Somalia and Northern Norway; Morrissey conspiracy theories; migrating puffins and marching bands; and Nico’s last days in Ibiza. This survey of his work – the first time much of it has been shown in his native Norway – comprises six films on small screens or monitors in the upstairs exhibition halls of Kunstnernes Hus, while the newest piece, Seasons of Migration to the North (2015), is projected inside a scaffolding rig that fills up a whole ground floor room.

The earliest piece on show is Morrissey Foretelling the Death of Diana (2006), in which Laumann deconstructs the lyrics of The Smiths’ 1985 album Meat is Murder, track by track, to reveal a dizzying litany of references that appear to predict the death of Princess Diana, an analysis that teeters between being convincing and absurd. Five adjacent monitors play the same film, each one spoken in a different language (one for each country where the piece has been shown to date) and each in a conspicuous, regional accent (the English version is spoken in thick Mancunian). Against a looped background refrain by The Smiths, montaged clips from French New Wave, Kitchen Sink Drama or Carry Onfilms obliquely illustrate the monologue’s rollercoaster of incident. Truth and paranoia lie back to back in what is both an homage to Laumann’s own early Smiths obsession, as well as the obscure lines of research facilitated by the internet.

Laumann is attracted to stories that occur on the margins, or even the margins of the margins. His best known work, Berlinmuren(2008), tells the tale of a Swedish woman, Eija-Riita Eklöf Berlinermauer, who is ‘objecto-sexual’ and has fallen in love with and married the Berlin Wall. The outlandish story, narrated in deadpan fashion by the Swedish woman herself, evacuates the Berlin Wall of its usual symbolic political content and meaning: ‘My love for the Berlin Wall has nothing to do with politics’, she says. Without Laumann’s own presence in the film, it’s difficult to determine if the story is real or fabricated, creating an unsettling viewing experience that brings our own prejudices to the fore.

Laumann’s most recent work, Season of Migration to the North, takes on more topical territory. The film is a refugee story, told from the perspective of a young, gay Sudanese asylum-seeker, doubly ostracized through homophobia and Islamophobia. Again, the narration is in the first person – the protagonist Eddie Ismael reads his diary entries from just before his arrest in Khartoum to his departure for Norway, where he was sent to a refugee camp in the North before moving to Oslo. Eddie’s arrest occurs at a fashion show in Khartoum that he helped organize and took part in. The police raided the event, arresting all of ‘the boys who they thought looked gay’ as well as the girls that ‘looked immoral’. Original footage from this fashion show provides the visual backdrop – handsome, barefoot models parade on a carpeted catwalk, styled in casual designer clothes. The work draws its power from the gulf between the benign images and their role in the narrator’s exile. At one point Ismael brings in a historical parallel, mentioning the diaries of Ruth Maier, an Austrian girl who came to Norway as a refugee from World War II, and fell in love with a Norwegian girl. History repeats itself, and the struggles faced by Jewish homosexuals during mid-20th-century fascism now find their echo in the experiences of Muslim homosexuals – minorities within a minority group.

The first-person narration in both of these films is direct and disarming, while the artist’s own presence is reduced to the point of invisibility. Laumann’s works are never documentary as such: the intense identification of artist and subject dissolves critical distance, rendering the relationship between them ambiguous. Voices, scripts and images are often borrowed, while several works are collaborations with artist friends. Just as Morrissey told his own story through a montage of quotes lifted from literature and films, so each of Laumann’s works becomes an inhabitation of others’ lives. ‘My mind and my life are two different things’, says Nico in the film You Can’t Pretend to be Somebody Else – You Already Are (2009–11), in which a trio of transvestites are called upon to perform the story of Nico’s life: ‘My life follows me around.’

Source: Magazine Contemporary Culture.
Text: Kirsty Bell, Frieze Magazine and Press Release, Kunstnernes Hus.
All images belongs to the respective artist and managment.

Read Full Article

Patrizio Di Massimo: Col Sole in Fronte (With The Sun In Front Of Me)

PADM24-5-1400x933

PADM24-6

Patrizio Di Massimo, Col Sole in Fronte (With The Sun In Front Of Me), 2010

Col Sole in Fronte (With The Sun In Front Of Me) begins on the ground floor of the gallery with the video Duets for Cannibals. This work was commisioned by Milan City Council and Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation in order to make a portrait of an African boy, Abdullay Kadal Traore, who has been living in Italy for several years. I accepted that request but not standing behind the camera and filming Abdullay as an exotic subject. The video becomes thus a dialogue or a duet in which we reason together about staging my proposal for the commission that he initially accepts and then rejects, revealing the intrinsic limit that we are not disposed to go beyond although we are both paid.

On the first floor, the exhibition continues with a double video installation Faccetta Nera, Faccetta Bianca (Italian, Little Black Face, Little White Face). The drawing that I showed to Abdullay in Duets for Cannibals becomes an image through the use of two actors and a photography study. The video installation examines the problem of difference with a dichotomic and literal attitude, and it gains its real meaning when is combined with the mistaken interpretation in the songs in question. In fact, Faccetta Nera was composed in order to attribute a noble motivation to the Ethiopia’s colonial invasion (1935) encouraging the Italian and the Abyssinian to unite; while Faccetta Bianca was the subsequent request of the regime that didn’t relish the first song. Facceta Bianca attempted to overturn it, however it did not gain a general acceptance among those who still sing Faccetta Nera identifying that “Black” as the ideology colour. Faccetta Nera, Faccetta Bianca:

If you look at the sea from the hills/Young negro slave amongst slaves/Like in a dream you will see many ships/And a tricolour waving for you/Little black face, beautiful Abyssinian/Wait and see the hour coming!/When we will be with you/We will give you another law and another king/Little black face, beautiful Abyssinian/Our law is slavery of love/We will take you to Rome freed/YOU WILL BE KISSED BY OUR SUN/and a black shirt you will be too/Little black face, you will be Roman/Your only flag will be Italian!/We will march together with you/and parade in front of the Duce and the king

Little white face, when I left you/That day on the pier in the steam/With the legionnaires I embarked/And your black eye gazing at the heart/It was equally moved as mine/While your hand was saying goodbye to me/Little white face, my love/Goodbye little, pale, tired face!/Little white face, one goes where one’s already been/in the trench, already on my mind again/among so many misty faces/IS YOUR LITTLE FACE, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN/Nearly contrasting these black faces/your sharpshooter is a flame and a light/Little white face, my only passion/The day the sharpshooter will clasp you tightly to his chest with emotion/will come/Little white face, one goes where one’s already been/And your little, beautiful, white face/Will rest on a tired medal!

The exhibition pertains to the sun, that is said to be Italy’s petroleum, to our heads and faces, to the intensive dialogue between the Italian contemporary society and its specific colonial past. The Italian song, through its use and quotation, interweaves all the works in the show and expresses historical, cultural and image ties. The exhibition also includes a rich selection of drawings made in 2009.

Col Sole in Fronte is then this press release that explains itself as an artwork within the exhibition. It explains and extends itself all around looking for that place in the sun which is Italy, which should be Italy, but has never been.

Go…my heart, from flower to flower/with sweetness and with love/go you for me…./Go…since my happiness/WITH THE SUN IN FRONT (OF ME)/and happy I sing/blissfully…/I wanna live and enjoy/the air of the mountain/’cause this enchantment/costs nothing!/Ah, ah! Today I ardently love/that impertinent creek, minstrel of love/Ah, ah! The blossoming of the trees/keeps in feast this heart/do you know why?/I wanna live like this/with the sun in front (of me)/and happy I sing/I sing for me!/Ah, ah! Today I ardently love/that impertinent creek, minstrel of love/Ah, ah! The blossoming of the trees/keeps in feast this heart /do you know why?/I wanna live like this/ with the sun in front (of me)/and happy I sing/I sing for me!/

Read Full Article

Seventeen Gallery, London

Paul-B-Davis-Critical-Space-HeadgearIMiller-Urey-Version-2

seventeen_outside-crop

Co-founder of Seventeen Gallery, Hoyland, came to London from Shropshire to study at Chelsea College of Art & Design. “I wanted to be a ground-breaking performance artist.” Instead, in the late 1990s he went to work at Coskun Fine Art in Knightsbridge, run by Gul Coskun: “High heels, short skirts and Warhols. The hardest-working woman I’ve ever met.” Inspired, he opened Seventeen in 2005 with Nick Letchford, who he’d met two years earlier in a Hoxton bar. Specialising in video, the gallery on Kingsland Road represents nine artists, including sculptor Susan Collis and Oliver Laric.

How do you find artists?
“I meet them in the pub. Finding artists is easy, finding people you like is harder.”

What kind of work catches your eye?
“Detailed work with lots of labour involved. I like artists to bleed for it and to see that problems have been overcome.”

What’s been the highlight so far?
“Being a gallerist is self-indulgent; it fulfils your art needs and is emotionally easier than being an artist. You get all the cream without any risk.”

http://www.seventeengallery.com/

Read Full Article