mounir fatmi
   
   
                                                   
 
6.
 
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

Other People's Memories, 2015
 

Other People's Memories

Goodman Gallery Johannesburg

28 january – 26 february 2015

 

CANDICE BREITZ / ADAM BROOMBERG AND OLIVER CHANARIN / NOLAN DENNIS / MOUNIR FATMI / KENDELL GEERS / DAVID GOLDBLATT/ HAROON GUNN SALIE/ ALFREDO JAAR / MOSHEKWA LANGA / WILLIAM KENTRIDGE / LIZA LOU / MIKHAEL SUBOTZKY /

 

“Imagine them reconstructing the conceptual framework of our cultural moment from those fragments. What are the parameters of that moment, the edge of that framework?” K Eshun (2003)

Other People’s Memories is a group show which explores the ways in which history and memory exist in the process of making, as well as the process of viewing, and by extension, the relationship between the artist, the artwork and the viewer.

The works included in the exhibition are the result of the artists’ relationship to something which has already happened, so that the artwork becomes an act of insertion, where the artists’ personal history becomes part of the historical, social or cultural moment which is referenced. In some instances the physical presence of the artists and their surroundings is consciously transferred to the artwork.

In Moshekwa Langa’s drawings, the artist uses string, tape and paint to map his memories and encounters. He includes domestic items like salt and wine, which he works into the fibrous paper and permeable string, so that the marks he makes are made viscerally – making overt the artist’s physical presence.

Transferral and human presence is also evoked in the beaded canvases of Liza Lou, who along with her team of skilled Zulu woman beaders, produces visual meditations on imperfect artistic production. The canvases retain traces of sweat, dirt and even blood which are testament to the fragile delicacy of her production and become a site of memory, recording the long struggle and sublime discomfort involved in the act of making.

Mikhael Subotzky’s work Sticky Tape Transfer 03 is formed through a process, developed by the artist, whereby adhesive tape is applied and then removed from images that feature in the artist’s personal history. In this delicate process, the tape picks up pigments and fragments of the original image so that a replica is formed. The pigments and fragments from the image are not all that is transferred onto the tape: dust and grime from the studio also become trapped in the glue, so that the image is made up not only of itself but also from the physical surroundings of the artist. Subotzky’s images then, become a meditation on memory itself. Like Subotzky’s transfers, a memory – each time it is evoked – is revised. Some parts are forgotten and left behind with the splinters and fragments of context replacing them.

The physical presence of the maker is made apparent in Kendell Geers’ work Foiled – where the artist has imprinted a religious figurine of Christ on the Cross on a large sheet of tin foil. Due to the delicate nature of the tin foil, the dents and folds deliberately made by the artists to demarcate the indented image are not the only marks on the material. As Geers manipulates the tin foil to create the image at its centre, his movement is picked up by the material so that the foil retains not only a visual “memory” of the devotional object but also a memory of how it came to be. The exhibition also allows for an exploration of how the artwork exists not only as something which contains the artists’ personal history – which happens in the process of making – but also how the viewer’s own history is projected onto the referred moment during the process of viewing and interpreting. Nolan Oswald Dennis’ work Tunnel 001 investigates the use of fire and what the artist terms “civil burnings” in the historical formation of South Africa.

The work consists of a plywood tunnel, the interior of which is covered in a thin layer of paraffin wax. Historical and personal accounts of how fire and burning existed in the formation of South African independence are carved into the wax. Like the foil in Geers’ work, the brittle yet stiff surface of the wax in Tunnel 001 means that in rewriting the texts, the artist physically changes what was originally written. Mistakes are made and words are scratched out, the wax breaks and obscures words, sentences run into each other and it becomes difficult to determine a precise starting and ending point. The size of the tunnel, which is just high enough to accommodate a human body, means that viewers are unable to gain perspective, and are forced by the physical constraints of the work to look at the carvings as fragments, and read the altered texts in pieces, so that each viewer has a different experience and constructs a different narrative and meaning. Where Dennis replicates and reworks texts onto a new surface, William Kentridge works directly onto archival documents, merging his drawing process into all that is contained by the archival document. Kentridge has worked with pages from an old cash book from East Rand Proprietary mines from 1906. In this way, the artist has worked the writing, texture and marks on the pages of the book into the landscapes – so that the history which the pages record becomes intrinsic to the landscape.

The archive, in this case, is directly altered by the artist’s charcoal landscapes, allowing for a rumination of the effect of the past on the landscape and exploring the tension between the reclaiming of damaged ground by the ever evolving and growing landscape – and the extent to which landscape remembers trauma. While Kentridge explores the extent to which trauma and social injustice is evoked in the landscape,

David Goldblatt considers the ways in which loss and memory are contained within manmade monuments. In his 2014 series, Structures of Dominion and Democracy, Goldblatt continues his reflection on the structures and monuments that frame a particular vision of South African history. The new series concentrates on, but is not entirely devoted to, the period after the fall of apartheid, and features images of makeshift memorials, public monuments, and artworks which memorialize moments of trauma and allow for attempts at national catharsis. The works interrogate the practice of memorializing history and the ideologies that govern this practice. Whereas Goldblatt documents and investigates the ways in which monuments are constructed amongst different groups, Alfredo Jaar works with a historical photograph of Italian artist Lucio Fontana after his return from his native Argentina to Milan in 1946. The image shows Fontana standing amongst the ruins of his studio which was destroyed during World War II. The image, which the artist sourced from the Farabola archive in Rome, has been enlarged to a 2,5 × 2,5 metres square. Beyond the evident display of destruction and loss caused by war, this image marks an extraordinary moment in history where a group of artists and intellectuals were able to overcome years of isolation and devastation and reintroduce Italian culture to the world. This group includes Fontana in visual arts as well as Rossellini, Visconti and De Sica in film, Moravia, Pavese or Ungaretti in literature and the later generation of filmmakers like Antonioni, Bertolucci, Pasolini and artists like Pistoletto, Boetti, Calzolari and countless others who illuminated the cultural scene of Italy and the world.

Jaar first showed this image during the 2013 Venice Biennale as part of his project Venezia, Venezia, which was a call to artists and intellectuals across the globe to rethink the current unbalanced structure of contemporary art display and representations of the world in general. As Jaar points out, “artists create models of thinking the world”. By alluding to the power which culture demonstrated back in 1946, the artist encourages culture to once again overcome the present social, geographical, political, and cultural imbalances still aggravating the world.

Haroon Gunn Salie begins from the point of a South African identity of Diaspora – and a history of colonialism and slavery.

Gunn Salie has produced a metal cut out of the words KOM OOR DIE SEE – a line from the popular “Kaapseklopse” and slave song Die Alabama. Working in The Belfast Exposed archive – which contains photographs documenting the Troubles in Northern Island – photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin were interested in the process of selection, and the physical marks made on the photographic contact strips in the archive.Marks were made both by the succession of archivists who worked with the archive, and as the archive was made open to the public, marks and cuts made by individuals who defaced images of themselves.

The archive, then, is not only a collection of images which document the troubles, but the images themselves – they too become surfaces which bear testimony to the physical manipulation and handling of history and documentation.

In the works on the exhibition the artists have brought to light the process of selection and deletion by uncovering parts of the images which have been covered by archivists’ stickers and deleting the rest of the image. In the process of exposing what was covered and deleting what was not, the artists make over the ways in which cataloguing and selection impact on an archive. When the works are installed in the gallery the images – now devoid of their context – trigger different responses in the viewers, who must use their own backgrounds and history to make meaning of the images’ sequences.

Mounir Fatmi works within the realm of art history and visual culture. Taking the Italian Renaissance artist Fra Anglico’s painting The Healing of Deacon Justinian as his starting point, Fatmi questions the possibility of traversing ethnic and cultural barriers. A digital replica of Angelico’s painting has been printed on a mirrored surface. The painting depicts the Catholic hagiology of the Deacon Justinian, whose cancerous leg was replaced with that of an a dead Ethiopian by the saints Cosmas and Damian – twin doctors of Turkish descent who were martyred in the Catholic faith after they were beheaded under Diocletian persecution.

Fatmi places composites images of modern surgeries and trauma rooms onto the Angelico image so that the saints and the deacon appear as ghostly forms in the modern world. Like so many of his works, in Blinding Light, Mounir Fatmi does not provide the viewer with an answer or solution to ethnic and cultural barriers – but rather through a merging of media, time and origin he includes the viewer in the a process of complicating and questioning the past.

The mirrored surface of the work means that in the proccess of looking, the viewer becomes part of the layered imagery. Bodies are reflected in the parts of the work which are still reflective and hidden in the parts which have been been covered by the photographic print. Again, medium is used as a visual analogy for contemplating that which has come before, where the viewer, as in Frangelico’s painting, becomes a ghostly presence in a reworking and re-imagining of the past. In her dual channel video work Treatment, – Candice Breitz also works with insertion and reception, through revising and editing David Cronenberg’s iconic 1970’s horror film The Brood.

Breitz enlists herself, her own mother and father, and her real-life psychotherapist to inhabit and re-create a series of scenes from The Brood.

As with the Cronenberg film,Treatment resists indulging concrete autobiographical information, denying onlookers voyeuristic access to Breitz’s actual relationships with her parents and therapist, and focusing instead on the psychological horror that potentially lies within family life.

Once again the work deals with the hidden that exists underneath the observable – and asks the viewer to engage with the reference, the artist’s intention and the narrative potential of their own history being brought to bear upon the works.

 
 
 
Expositions personnelles I Solo shows (selection)
 
CDAN Museum 2018Göteborgs Konsthall 2018Art Front Gallery 2017
Officine dell'Immagine 2017Galerie De Multiples 2017Analix Forever Gallery 2017
Jane Lombard Gallery 2017Galerie Delacroix 2017Goodman Gallery 2017
Lawrie Shabibi 2017Analix Forever Gallery 2017Maisons des Arts du Grütli 2017
ADN Platform 2016Keitelman Gallery 2016Labanque 2016
MMP+ 2016MAMCO 2015MIAMIBUS 2015
Analix Forever 2015CCC Tours 2014ADN Galeria 2014
ADN Platform 2014Analix Forever 2014Yvon Lambert 2014
Museum Kunst Palast 2013 Keitelman Gallery 2013Paradise Row 2013
Institut Français de Casablanca 2013Galerie Fatma Jellal 2013Analix Forever 2013
Goodman Gallery 2012Shoshana Wayne Gallery 2012 Lombard-Fried Projects 2012
Galerie Conrads 2011Fondazione Collegio San Carlo 2011Galerie Hussenot 2011
AKBank Sanat 2011Galerie Hussenot 2010Galerie Conrads 2009
FRAC Alsace 2009Galerie Delacroix IFM 2008Creux de l'enfer 2008
Galerie Ferdinand van Dieten 2007Musée national Pablo Picasso 2007Shoshana Wayne Gallery 2007
La maison rouge 2007Lombard Freid projects 2007Bank galerie 2006
CAC d'Istres 2005 Espace des arts Colomiers 2004 CAC Le Parvis 2004
Migros museum 2003
 
Biennales & Triennales I Biennials, Triennials (selection)
 
13eme Biennale de Dakar 20187th Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 20181er Biennale de Rabat 2018
57th Venice Biennale 20177eme Biennale d'Architecture de Shenzhen 201711eme Biennale de Bamako 2017
15eme Biennale d'art contemporain Alios! 2017Biennale Poznan 2016Setouchi Triennale 2016
10èmes Rencontres de Bamako 20155th Thessaloniki Biennale 201516th Media art Biennale Wro 2015
1st Trio Biennale, Rio de Janeiro 20152nd Bodrum Biennial 2015Fotofest Biennial 2014
5th Auckland Triennial 201310th Dakar Biennial 2012 White House Biennial 2013
Manif d'Art 6 20123rd Thessaloniki Biennial 201111th Lyon Biennial 2011
54th Venice Biennial 2011XIIth Cairo Biennial 20101st Mediterranean Biennial of Haifa 2010
Port Izmir 2, international triennial of contemporary art 20108th Dakar Biennial 2010Biennale Cuvée 2010
Xth Lyon Biennial 2009Art Tel Aviv 20098èmes Rencontres de Bamako 2009
1st Brussels Biennial 2008Pontevedra Biennial 200824th Biennial Memorial of Nadezda Petrovic 2007
1st Luanda Triennial 2007 52th Venice Biennial 20078th Sharjah Biennial 2007
2nd Seville Biennial 2006 Gwangju biennial 2004 7th Dakar Biennial 2006
4th Dakar Biennial 20007th Biennal Art Media 1999
 
Expositions collectives I Group shows (selection)
 
Jane Lombard 2019James Cohan 2019Mathaf 2018
MACAAL 2018Fondation Boghossian 2018Sammlung Philara 2018
Nasher Museum of Art 2018Ellen Noël Art Museum 2018Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea 2018
MOCAK 2018Bozar Center for fine arts 2018Philharmonie de Paris 2018
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery 2018Goodman Gallery 2018Institut Français de Saint Louis 2018
Pensacola Museum of Art 2018 Von der Heydt-Kunsthalle 2018Gifu Museum 2017
Huntsville Museum of Art 2017Bandjoun Station 2017Institut des Cultures d’Islam 2017
Bellevue Arts Museum 2017Mudac 2017Primo Marella Gallery 2017
Goodman Gallery 2017MACAAL 2017Museum De Wieger 2017
Conrads Gallery 2017Galerie Ceysson & Bénétière 2017Keitelman Gallery 2017
Musée du Pays de Hanau 2017Château de Servières 2017CEAA 2017
Fondazione Fotografia Modena 2017H&R Block Artspace 2017Bedford Gallery 2016
Beijing Today Art Museum 2016Hôtel des Arts 2016Museum of Old and New Art 2016
Labanque 2016Les Photaumnales 2016Al Maaden 2016
Kunsthalle Faust 2016Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg 2016Archives Nationales 2016
Bardo National Museum 2016Arles 2016Musée d'Art Moderne de Troyes 2016
Rotor 2016Goodman Gallery 2016Musée Bartholdi 2016
Institut d’Art Contemporain 2016Santander Art Gallery 2016Brandts & Viborg Kunsthal 2016
Fondazione VIDEOINSIGHT 2015A Tale of a Tub 2015Contemporary Istanbul 2015
ADMAF 2015Goodman Gallery 2015Keitelman Gallery 2015
Galeria Municipal do Porto 2015Fabra i Coats 2015AMOCA 2015
Monastère Royal de Brou 2015CAC La Traverse 2015FRAC Franche-Comté 2015
ZKM 2015The National Library 2015Station 2015
La FabriC - Fondation Salomon 2015Van Abbemuseum 2015The Brooklyn Museum 2015
MMP+ 2015Sharjah Museum 2015Kamel Lazaar Foundation 2015
Sextant & + 2015Gwangju Museum of Art 2014QAGOMA 2014
N.B.K. 2014CAyT Centro de Arte y Technologia 2014Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery 2014
Station 2014Institut du Monde Arabe 2014Art Gallery of Western Australia 2014
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 2014Palais de Tokyo 2014L'art dans les chapelles 2013
MAD Museum 2013Marseille - Provence 2013V&A Museum 2013
30 ans des FRAC 2013MAC Marseille 2013MAXXI 2013
Museu de Arte Moderna de Salvador de Bahia 2012Institut du Monde Arabe 2012Edge of Arabia 2012
Apexart 2012B.P.S. 22 2012Dorsky Gallery 2012
International Center of Graphic Arts 2012Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art 2011Fondation Blachère 2011
Brooklyn Museum 2011Dublin Contemporary 2011Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts 2011
Museum on the Seam 2011Tri Postal Lille 2011Meeting Point 6 2011
The New School 2010Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil 2010Fondazione Fotografia Modena 2010
Aargauer Kunsthaus 2010KAdE 2010Kunst Museum Bochum 2010
Moscow museum of modern art 2010Art Gallery of Ontario 2010Fondation Gulbenkian 2009
Centro de Arte de Santa Monica 2009Beirut Art Center 2009Salina Art Center 2009
Kunstverein Medienturm Ilz 2008Te Papa museum 2008Studio Museum Harlem 2008
Haus der Kunst 2008Centre Pompidou 2008CAAM 2008
Centro de Arte de Santa Monica 2008Johannesburg Art Gallery 2007CAC Le Parvis 2006
CAPC musée d'art contemporain 2006Bank Galerie 2006Les Abattoirs 2006
Moderna museet 2006Mori art museum 2006Wereldmuseum 2005
Centre Pompidou 2005The Stenersen Museum 2005Saw gallery 2005
Konstmuseum 2005Hayward Gallery 2005Museum Kunst Palast 2004
Tri Postal Lille 20042nd international contemporary art meeting 2003Espacio C 2002
O.N.A. Foundation 1999CAC Castres 1999Musée des beaux-arts de Dôle 1999
Musée des arts décoratifs 1999  
 
interventions publiques I public space projects (selection)
 
metavilla 2015Collateral Project to the 12th Havana Biennial 2015Prison Qara Meknès 2015
Art Paris 2015Analix Forever 2014Sculpture Beach Art Dubai 2012
Le Printemps de Septembre 2012Narracje 4 2012Ivry 2010
FIAC Tuileries 2010 Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2004