Salina Art Center
October 28, 2009 - January 6, 2010
Curators: Claire Gilman, Margaret Sundell
The Storyteller A traveling exhibition that explores how contemporary artists use the story form as a means of comprehending and conveying political and social events Curated by Claire Gilman and Margaret Sundell Organized and circulated by iCI (Independent Curators International), New York.
Responding to the rapid, often violent transformations of the 21st century, contemporary artists have displayed a growing desire to activate art!s documentary capacity, its ability to bear witness to events in the world. All of the works in The Storyteller revolve around situations that are either in the process of unfolding or that continue to impact the lives of the artists or protagonists. However, in each case, these events are re-imagined and thereby reexperienced through the artist!s personal encounter or the character!s narration. Jeremy Deller and Mike Figgis, The Battle of Orgreave, 2002 2 For the artists in the exhibition, the story functions neither as a purely imagined narrative nor as a piece of verifiable information. Rather, it is a document of a different sort, one whose focus is less empirical accuracy than the reality of events as they are encountered, experienced and delivered by a thinking, receiving subject and an active listener. The story is at once temporal and personal, public and communal. It persists through the listener!s interpretive process and through each subsequent retelling.
The Storyteller includes an international group of artists working in video, photography, drawing, mixed media and installation: all media that have lent themselves to a documentary approach. Although the featured artists have enjoyed a degree of critical attention, none has yet received serious consideration for the role that storytelling plays in his or her work. In some cases, the artist!s “story” takes the form of a drama based on real events: Jeremy Deller and Mike Figgis!s film reenacts a 1984 clash between striking miners and police in Thatcherite England; Ryan Gander revisits the construction of Trellick Tower, London!s infamous blighted urban housing project, in a children!s book and accompanying sculptural installation; and the collective, Missing Books, imagines the final minutes in the life of Argentine dissident Rodolfo Walsh, a well-respected fiction writer.