Ben Rivers, Emanuel Almborg, Jonathan Uliel Saldanha, Sol Calero & Christopher Kline, Özlem Altin:
Thu 24 May – Fri 27 July, 2012. Barcelona
NoguerasBlanchard is proud to present the exhibition Case Report, curated by Lorenzo Sandoval (Madrid, 1980) and selected for the first curatorial Open Call organized by the gallery. Case Report brings together artists who employ appropriation of found images, objects and sounds and focuses on their engagement with ethnographical and anthropological processes.
The concept which gives the project its title comes from the field of medicine and suggests a type of anecdotal evidence, a non-scientific observation or study which does not provide proof but may assist research efforts. Although scientifically, a case report is not considered a rigorous process, this type of evidence provides a mechanism to understand the appearance of new and unexpected elements: an intuitive state open to suggestion, appears during investigation. Parting from this idea, the narrative of this exhibition unfolds in a threshold where the fictional, the causal, and the unexpected complete and amplify rather than obscure the overall perception. A cognoscitive exploration of the liminal zone which divides the known from the unknown, the visible and the invisible, language and its absence.
The work of Emanuel Almborg Nothing is left to Tell is the continuation of a social experiment carried out by a community in a semi-abandoned space, a terrain vague, in London from the end of the seventies until 2004. The artist’s engagement with this project began in his previous work The Rest is Silence; an investigation combining the actual history and myth surrounding this experimental construction in the borough of Hackney, in which a group of people were building under the two premises of not having a predesigned plan and to remain in silence during the realization. In Nothing is left to Tell, Almborg and a group of eleven people, strangers of varying ages and backgrounds, travelled together to a small island off the coast of Sweden. Their mission was to build a wooden structure over the course of their stay on the island without speaking and without any plan or blueprint. For the exhibition, the artist presents the results of this project through a number of formats; a book featuring the fieldnotes and photographs of an anthropologist, an audio recording of her narration and a documentary film showing scenes of the group’s life on the small island. Her notes, both observational and speculative, are an attempt to understand the nature and dynamic of the group and touch on larger questions about the relationship between language and community.
The concept of insularity as a metaphoric and geographic space which facilitates new social models, is explored, albeit through different parameters, in the work of Ben Rivers. Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction film, which brings together four works in 16mm which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction. The sea level rising to absurd heights, creating hyperbolic utopias that appear as possible, mini-future societies, Slow Action is filmed at different sites across the globe. Lanzarote – a beautiful strange island, known for its beach resorts yet one of the driest places on the planet, full of dead volcanoes and strange architecture; Gunkajima – an island off the coast of Nagasaki (Japan), a deserted city built on a rock, once home to thousands of families mining its rich coal reserves; Tuvalú, one of the smallest countries in the world, with tiny strips of land barely above sea level in the middle of the Pacific; and Somerset (Canada), a currently uninhabited island and its various clades. This series of constructed realities explores the environments of self-contained lands and the search for information to enable the reconstruction of soon to be lost worlds. The film’s soundtrack details each of the four islands’ evolutions according to their geographical, geological, climatic and botanical conditions.
Another approach to the subject facing the objectified otherness, is presented in the installations of Özlem Altin. Working from a vast personal archive combining her own photographic work, drawings and paintings with found material such as family photos, magazines, documentation of other artist’s work or text fragments from theatre plays, she associatively contrasts the commonalities and contradictions of images. She is particularly interested in concepts of the body. Faces, as special features of the body’s identity, are usually covered and disguised. This renders people interchangeable, makes them lose their specific personal quality, and turns them into objects. Altin thus generates a tautological entanglement in which her works are in a constant interrelation between body and object.
Snakebraid is a procession of altars, each building upon the previous to give form to an assembled personal mythology. This performance of Christopher Kline and Sol Calero, deals with spirituality in favour of a more pure religiosity, a marrying of the divine and the profane into the sacred. The performance takes place in the form of a ritual, at a ceremonial altar and to the rhythmic beat of small bells. Site Restoration Object No. 003 is a site-specific sculpture built from the discarded materials in the gallery, that the two artists collected during the period of installing their work, Field Studies. This work combines the researchs of the two artists, creating an archaeological device which presents objects of an imaginary society from an invented land. In Column Study, Sol Calero includes research into the origins of found West German ceramics, which are assembled and disassembled, unclear if they constitute an ancient column discovered by archaeologists or a domesticated kitsch Brancusi sculpture. Kline, meanwhile, introduces a series of crafts elements that refer to popular decorative pieces made in Ucrania, consisting of a series of extremely delicate hand-painted eggshells. Both artists investigate the ancestral through a visual language which includes fabric, construction, found objects, music and performance.
Finally, musician, curator, writer and artist Jonathan Uriel Saldanha presents a sound performance and installation which engages with elements of perception through sound frequencies and light. He rescues elements from scientific experiments that were made during the seventies in isolation chambers. The sound constructions are overlapped to a specific space, triggering psychoacoustic phenomena that evoke mental states. Thus, the sound becomes space, space becomes a mental landscape, a spectral territory.
Artistas: Emanuel Almborg (Stockholm, 1981 ), Özlem Altin (Goch, Germany, 1977), Sol Calero (Caracas, 1982) & Christopher Kline (Kinderhook, NY, 1982), Ben Rivers (Somerset, England, 1972), Jonathan Uliel Saldanha (Paris, 1979)
Schedule of exhibition events : Thursday, May 24th at 18 h guided visit by the curator. Thursday, May 24th at 19 h performance by Jonathan Uliel Saldanha and performance Snakebraid (Sol Calero & Christopher Kline) . Friday, May 25th at 19 h screening of the films Slow Action (2010) by Ben Rivers and Nothing is Left to Tell by Emanuel Almborg (2011) at Cinema Maldà, c/Pi, 5, Barcelona .
NoguerasBlanchard and Lorenzo Sandoval would like thank the collaboration of Circus (Berlin), Kate MacGarry Gallery (London), Lux (London), Cinema Maldà (Barcelona), Soopa (Oporto) and L’ull Cec (Barcelona).
NoguerasBlanchard presents the Book Club, with books recommended on this occasion by Lorenzo Sandoval and available for consultation in the gallery.