when all seemingly stands still
September 27 - November 7, 2015
Grey Noise, Dubai
when all seemingly stands still gathers works that challenge the characteristics of stillness and movement that are inherent to the filmic language. In each selected work, the strong or slight presence of movement and it’s absence or its recording of a non-event, is provoked by a set of ‘actions’ that are exterior to the camera movement. Motion, in its pace and nature is expanding on the poetic of the ordinary, the spectacle of nothingness and the restlessness of our times. This exhibition about movement becomes a lieu of waiting for something to happen; with all that this notion carries in the realm of desire and perception of time and existence.
In his newest video work, Now the shadows I measure, Michael John Whelan captures the motion of a Shive wave generator in an Indian Planetarium. This device invented in 1959 by physicist John Northrup Shive, was used to illustrate the movement of a wave, usually driven by a force that is invisible to the human eye. This sequence-shot that almost seems like a still image in the first seconds of the video (if it wasn’t for the little movement of the man sitting in the background) ends up recording the shape of a wave movement when the generator is manually triggered. The slight oscillations of the machine at the end of the cycle coincide with the end of the recording. This time-based work captures a minimal movement that is in itself the manifestation of a movement like in a ‘mise en abyme’ perspective. Moving images and time-based works are characteristic of the artist’s practice, what could have been a time-based video of a natural landscape, is the physical recording of the imperceptible movement in nature. His second work That we were to wait is an analog 20 minute photographic exposure made at night with artificial lights installed along the beach illuminating the crashing waves of the Irish Sea. We can see the shadow of the artist and his camera both waiting for the duration to take place. The title is taken from Samuel Beckett’s widely known contribution to the theatre of the absurd with Waiting for Godot in which Vladimir and Estragon are doomed to be waiting for Godot.
At first glance, Albert Pischel’s Yosemite looks like archival footage of an idyllic waterfall from an American landscape in the 1940’s. The sound of the 16 mm projector is reminiscent of another epoch, as is the sepia film. As we closely watch the looping movement, the stillness of the image is questioned, revealing something fictitious and of unclear status. Is it a documentary footage, afterall? A time-based shot of a waterfall? In fact, what we see is just one of Photo Booth’s backgrounds offered by Apple’s Mac OS X operating system for users to take portraits, “selfies” and photographs of themselves with a diverse range of still and moving sets. Extracted from the software and filmed by an analog camera; the texture of these images, their symbology and connotations are automatically shifted. This work looks into the archeology of media, digging up contemporary images produced by digital technologies and challenging our perception of movement, and its authenticity, vis à vis the natural or cultural “effect” in media. As an anecdote, Apple very recently released OS X Yosemite operating system with the image of this waterfall as a wallpaper, making the artist’ work and random focus on this specific image from Photo Booth somehow prophetic.
Continuing with landscapes, La mer is one of these unforgettable shots that marked generations of video artists looking at time-based video and the moving image. In 1991, Ange Leccia shot the film by shifting his camera ninety degrees, granting this natural movement an unusual verticality. Similar to all the works presented in this exhibition, the geographical location doesn’t really matter, it is above all a reality made abstract, a movement becoming matter. The regularity of the movement with no beginning and no end was often compared to a pulse that is not heard but seen, an allegory of life manifesting in the essence of movement, an ever generating gesture of a wave, drawing and erasing and in appearance strangely alluding to the graph of a heartbeat.
The notion of waiting as it manifests in Michael John Whelan, Albrecht Pischel and Ange Leccia’s works is intricately related to the possibilities of the filmic tool to capture motion as much as it is intertwined with philosophical and existential questions.
Booked The Movie is one of Karmelo Bermejo’s series of projects based on spending public funding to reveal the absurdities of the financial system in today’s art world. He literally interrogates the cultural and financial values of art by maneuvering mundane situations. His artworks are intrinsically related to financial transactions while critically looking at the way contemporary art is dealt with in the financial realm. For this work, the artist bought all the tickets for Saturday’s number one ranked film at 10pm with public money, so that nobody can watch the film… The video, (the only part of the installation selected for this exhibition) is documenting an empty room from the beginning to the end of the movie… As we are watching the theatre waiting to be filled up or for something to happen, the film actually reveals the work to be a long shot in which the different intensities and rhythms of light coming from the screen on the empty seats are captured: the absence of usual movement, allows the manifestation of another form of spectacle to occur.
Wolk, the dutch meaning of ‘cloud’ is the title for Sanne Vassen’s work that oscillates between the language of video and a filmed performance. Her work examines and attempts to capture the different shapes and properties that a movement can take. We see her throwing a blue pigment on the surface of the water. As we wait, the wind gives it a form and the water grants it a still reflection. These interstitial moments, characteristics of movement that is “in transition or transformation within a certain duration” as the artist defines it, are often triggers in her work.
Fading out in the landscape, an electric blue cloud floats lightly although its manifestation is a result of a confrontation between nature’s usual movement and an external force.
The static shot of a hand is LucFosther Diop’s WE ARE ONE. The artist filmed his own hand and the movement of his fingers progressively accelerating, changing rhythm or maybe even language. Hands and fingers are usually the most agile and nimble parts of the human body. Hand gestures can symbolize language, labor, trust, faith, destiny not to mention the number of esoteric rituals and superstitions associated to them. What interests us here is to simply meditate on this movement essentially communicative of a message until the hand stops and opens for a minute. This relation between motion and stillness in the simplest gestures of our bodies emphasize the fundamental and straightforward ways we communicate through movement.
In The Travelers, Pauline Bastard focuses on communication through text. We see landscapes and still lifes from postcards sliding slowly onto the screen. The images’ stillness is animated by the words, sentences and descriptions found on the backside of the cards and placed in front of the image. This unusual juxtaposition of postcard images and texts impart to the different places an idyllic and poetic representation. Language as movement, breaking the stillness of fixed images, is stressed in this particular work.
when all seemingly stands still can be seen as a silent and experiential exhibition exploring twisted connections between film, movement and the latent notion of waiting. In this context, a commission was made to Lantian Xie, to reflect upon the theme of the exhibition within the site specificity of the gallery space.
Dubayygeists is an intervention-based work comprising different images using the exhibition’s space almost like a melancholic film set.
Xie’s interventions gesture towards the daily movements of the city: its machines, factories, fast food services and distribution systems.
Americana Call Centre is a ringtone that was set on the mobile phones of Grey Noise’s team from the recording of KFC UAE delivery center’s automated customer hotline answering machine. The visitors might attempt to wait for the phone to ring during their visit to the exhibition…or take-away one of the Hong Kong Restaurant takeaway menus welcoming them at the entrance of the gallery.
In the exhibition space, Spilled Mirinda is firstly a drawing of a non-event, a still life drawn with color pencil then a physical encounter with this same non-event in the space of the scenography. These interventions, estranged from the atmosphere of the exhibition are exactly what entangle when all seemingly stands still with the specific context of Dubai.
Text by Amanda Abi Khalil
About the Artists
b. 1982, France
After graduation from Les Beaux Arts de Paris in 2009 and the Sorbonne in 2010, Pauline Bastard completed her studies in 2011 with a research year at NYU. Over the past few years, she has participated in many different residencies – notably in Europe, the US and Latin America – and has developed her work around these travels. Her artwork has appeared in many group exhibitions, including the 30th São Paulo biennial and L’imminence des poeétiques, and she has had solo shows in galleries in Paris, New York, Berlin, Zurich, and Bogota.
Pauline Bastard is represented by Galerie Eva Hober, Paris and Galerie Barbara Seiler, Zurich.
b. 1979, Spain
Karmelo Bermejo studied at University of the Basque Country, Spain and SOMA, Mexico. His solo exhibitions include Óleo, KaBe Contemporary, Miami; (a full stop), Maisterravalbuena, Madrid in 2013; MARCO Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Vigo in 2011; The Grand Finale, Maisterravalbuena, Madrid, Spain in 2010; and Torre de Ariz, Basauri, Spain in 2009. Group exhibitions include the Yokohama Triennial, Japan in 2014; Pobre artista rico. El valor estético en transacción, Casa del Lago, Mexico in 2012; Tropicalia Negra, Museo El Eco, Mexico in 2013; Critical Fetishes, Residues of general economy, Museum of Mexico City, Mexico in 2011; 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2011; Re: Thinking Trade, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK in 2010 and No future, Bloomberg Space, London, UK in 2007.
Karmelo Bermejo is represented by Maisterravalbuena, Madrid.
b. 1980, Cameroon
Diop received a BA in Fine Arts at the Yaounde 1 University in 2003. After obtaining a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2009, he studied for two years at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. He is recipient of grants from ArtBakery (Bonendale, Cameroon) in 2003, MTN Foundation in 2007 and from a digital arts research and production Unesco-Aschberg award for French Africa in 2013. He exhibited his work during OK Video International Festival in Jakarta in 2007, World One Minute Video in Beijing in 2008, the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennial in 2009, International Symposium on Electronic Arts in 2010, PhotoEspaña in 2011, the Havana Biennial in 2012, and International Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil in 2013, among others.
b. 1952, France
After completing his fine arts studies, Ange Leccia embarked on a double activity as an artist and filmmaker and began his research as a pensioner of the Academy of France in Rome. His work is part of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim in New York, among others and was shown at Documenta in Kassel, Skulptur Projekte in Münster, and the Venice Biennale to name a few. In 2013, MAC/VAL organized a solo show of his work. Since 2011, he has been responsible for Pavillon Neuflize OBC, the Palais de Tokyo’s creative lab.
Ange Leccia is represented by the Galerie Almine Rech, Paris.
b. 1981, Germany
He studied at the University School of Visual Arts in Leipzig, in parallel with studies of sculpture and conceptual art at University of Fine Arts of Hamburg. His solo exhibitions include Raging Bulls, H Gallery, Bangkok in 2003, Ich esse lieber alleine at Galerie der HGB, Leipzig in 2010 and Death in Venice 2 at Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition, Berlin to name a few. He took part in several group exhibitions between Berlin and Bangkok including still (not) moving at Galerie EIGEN + ART EIGEN + ART LAB, Berlin in 2014.
Albrecht Pischel is represented by Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition, Berlin.
b. 1991, Netherlands
Vaassen studied Fine Arts at ABKM, Maastricht in 2013 and Jan van Eyck academy, Maastricht in 2015. She has been part of several exhibitions between 2012 – 2015, including Marres, Intimacy & Chambres d'amis, Maastricht and Folgendes, Hamburg in 2015, Beating around the bush, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht in 2014 and Jeune Creation Europeenne in 2013/2015. She was the recipient of Henriette Hustinxprijs award, Maastricht in 2013 as well as a nominee for Hermine van Bers prijs, Maastricht in 2015 and Tent Academy award, Rotterdam in 2013. She was a resident at FLACC, Genk in 2013 and Jeune Creation Européenne, Montrouge in 2015.
Michael John Whelan
b. 1977, Ireland
Whelan received a BA in Fine Art from IADT-DL, Dublin in 2002 and an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London) in 2004. He was the recipient of the Clifford Chance/University of the Arts Sculpture Award in 2005. He has works in a number of public and private collections including the University of the Arts Collection and the MLP Collection. His works have been exhibited and screened internationally in institutions, galleries, project spaces and art fairs such as (selection): Art Dubai (UAE) with Grey Noise, Athr Gallery (SAU), Margaret Lawrence Gallery (AUS), LISTE 18 (SUI) with Grey Noise, Lismore Castle Arts: St. Carthage Hall (IRL), Boetzelaer⎪Nispen Gallery (NLD), Kiasma (FIN), Museum Bochum (DEU), KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen (DEU), Kunstverein Bochum (DEU), Noorderlicht Gallery (NLD), Kunstverein Bremerhaven (DEU), Kunstverein Dortmund (DEU), Temple Bar Gallery & Studios (IRL). He has had two books published: ‘The sun shone on the nothing new’, 44 Pages, published by Grey Noise/Lismore Castle Arts in 2013 and ‘Red Sky Morning’, 144 Pages, published by Argobooks, Berlin in 2009.
Michael John Whelan is represented by Grey Noise, Dubai.
b. 1988, United Arab Emirates
Lantian Xie makes images about Dubai. He is particularly interested in hotel lobbies, cafeteria menus, and gulfs. Xie holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, co-hosts a weekly programme on Dubai Eye 103.8FM, and is editor-at-large at THE STATE. Xie was formerly artist in residence at the Delfina Foundation in London.
Lantian Xie is represented by Grey Noise, Dubai.
About the Curator
Amanda Abi Khalil
Her recent collective exhibitions include Kurz/Dust at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Warsaw, Simple past, perfect futures; images in countershot at the Centquatre in Paris, Pippera, pipperoo, pipperum at Meinblau in Berlin, We hesitated between arrangements, modulations and manoeuvres MINUS 5, Beirut among others. She curated solo presentations with artists Michael John Whelan, Raed Yassin and Laure de Selys in London and Beirut and collaborated with galleries such as Grey Noise - Dubai, Agial Gallery – Beirut and Vitrine – London. She has curated film screenings and took part in talks, panel discussions, residencies and fellowships at Art Basel, Beirut Art Center, Centre for Contemporary arts in Warsaw, Art Dubai, FIAC – Paris, Kunsthall Bergen and Stavanger in Norway, AIR in Milan and Alfilm festival in Berlin to name a few. She is the founder and director of Temporary Art Platform, an association based in Beirut for the production and promotion of art practices in public space. Abi Khalil lectures in art history art history and sociology of arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA) and at the Saint Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut and regularly consults in public art. She curated InVisible a pilot public art commission in Dubai in 2014. She held the position of director-curator of the Hangar art space in Beirut between 2010 and 2012.
This exhibition was made possible with support of the following:
Barbara Seiler, Zurich
Eva Hober, Paris
Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition, Berlin
Ayyam Gallery, Dubai
press release pdf / view show