Liste 18
June 11–16, 2013
Basel, Switzerland

Grey Noise is pleased to announce its second participation at LISTE 18, Basel, Switzerland. We will be showcasing a selection of works by artists Ingrid Hora, Basir Mahmood and Michael John Whelan.

Ingrid Hora will present three works in the media of sculpture, photography and video.

The Great Leap Forward

The work consists of a sculpture, a video and screenprints which deal with the collective consciousness of two generations; the generation who experienced Mao Zedongs China and the generation born after 1980, who suddenly went from the “collective” thinking imposed by a communist regime to the individualistic extreme way of life encouraged by a new emerged capitalistic system. The screen prints titled ‘Democratic Training Devices’ are made up devices inspired by public Chinese health training devices that can be found all over China. Twisted to become a collective exercising device, ‘The Great Leap Forward’ is a walker for a group of people to walk in a line. Her video titled Track shows an old man trying not to loose track and running very slowly in a loop, barely making it, amidst a foggy Beijing.
Through her interpretation of these well-known devices, Hora questions the notions of progress, dependency, collectivity and loneliness in relation to history, ideology and economy.

Basir Mahmood presents a video project and correlating photographic series which explore notions of social identities and human behavior in his documentary style practice.

Thank you for Coming

Playing on the line between fiction and reality, Mahmood presents a film that looks at the aesthetics of the banal societal activities that he has observed around himself. By collaborating with an unrelated layperson, and through him involving several of his relatives, friends and acquaintances, he simulates and dramatizes a simple celebration gathering. No indication is given to the nature of the occasion; neither does the actual subject of the occasion play a part in this narrative. The video focuses solely on the arrival, participation and departure of these guests in this unidentified event. An unseen director instructs these guests to change seats, exchange fruit, eat the fruit and drop peels of it on the floor – all in very mechanical and choreographed movements. From the beginning however, it is made unmistakably clear that this is a staged setting, with the participants instructed to behave in theatrically rehearsed motions. Their visible stiffness and an awareness of being filmed are also carefully premeditated elements and incorporated into the visual dynamics.
With this short caricature of a seemingly important life event, Mahmood creates a metaphorical context of behavioral patterns within a social structure that he is familiar with. The unidentified and indefinite nature of the subject and content, and the unfamiliarity of the viewer with the people in the video, draws attention to the actions performed in a way that questions the framework of human interaction. Ultimately, the way one views this video is subjective to their own frame of reference and identity.

A Chair, Somewhere

Accompanying the film is a photographic work titled A Chair, Somewhere. The red chair, which is immediately recognizable in the local Pakistani context as symbolic of large public gatherings and other events (weddings, funerals, etc.), has been isolated from its usual numbered quantity. The diptych represents the before and after, almost representational of the beginning and end of the video – bringing to attention a narrative that is directed by the chair’s sole function. When seen first, even when empty, it is immediately loaded with the sense of expectancy that it will soon seat guests for an occasion; afterwards, it conveys that something has come to pass. By using a symbol that displays social interaction even without showing the persons themselves, the artist focuses on how different accounts are written on these blank palettes – symbolically via the chair, and quite literally by the conceived story on an empty piece of paper.

One for each, Two for all

The triptych expands upon the idea of codified behavior that forms the framework of any social structure. By looking at a prototypical celebratory social gathering, Mahmood picks on the subliminal language of gestures and how they form the building bricks of expected norms.

Michael John Whelan presents three works in the media of sculpture and photography. These works reflect Whelan’s continuing investigation into astronomy, mathematics and specifically geometry, while allowing space for both personal associations and social commentaries.

Sunset over that Spanish Mountain (Metatron’s Cube)

For this sculptural work Whelan took the orthographic projection of the geometric shape Metatron’s Cube as a starting point. Like in previous drawing projects he began with the premise of deconstruction - as a method of understanding and control. Isolating each separate line of the shape he represents them in three-dimensional form using thirty-nine stainless steel rods. These are arranged in an intentionally chaotic and random way as if the geometric shape had collapsed in the space. The ends of the thirty-nine poles are painted with a colour taken from a mental image, in this case a sunset over a mountain in
southern Spain. This ongoing series of sculptural works act as personal mnemonic devices for Whelan, tools to remember visual references and inspirations from his past.

In Embers (Dodecahedron) #1, #2 & #3

Continuing his exploration of concepts of duration using long exposure photography and extended duration video works, Whelan presents a set of three specially framed fire studies. Using long exposures, the fires themselves become secondary to the embers and their incandescent but fleeting existence. Their lack of coherent orderly movement is recorded through the technology of analogue photographic optics and chemistry. The three photographs are framed by twelve pentagon card mounts. Taken together these pentagons make up a dodecahedron, one of the platonic solids.
Existing within all realms of human experience, this shape has a mathematical, historical and artistic value. It is studied in geometry, written about in fiction, included in the artworks of Salvador Dali, appears in a series of 2nd century bronze Roman artifacts, and was proposed by Jean-Pierre Luminet in 2003 as a model for the global geometry of the universe. While the ember trails represent chaos, the twelve pentagons (and their potential for a ‘cerebral’ dodecahedron) represent order.

Everyone you ever heard of

This sculptural work consists of three vintage wardrobe doors with hundreds of cubic zirconia gems inserted permanently into the wood. Inspired by NASA/ESA imagery, Whelan sets every gem into the surface of the nut wood by hand - forming the image of a spiral galaxy. With this work, he is addressing our position as a race, forever caught in between grand ideas and our feelings of a banal existence. We look to the skies, dream of space travel, advance our sciences and excel in our endeavors. But at the same time we are uncontrollably defined by our personal experiences and ultimately dependent on basic necessities for survival. We construct our domestic environments and create a fragile and easily vaporized feeling of comfort and control. Whelan attempts to bring two concepts into one place: that of the domestic and that of the cosmos. Through the selection of the most basic of domestic fixtures (the wardrobe), Whelan endeavors to bring a sense of familiarity and accessibility to this work. Also, by using a material deemed fake (cubic zirconia) he questions our modern value systems.

Ingrid Hora / b. 1976, Italy / Lives and works in Berlin.

Ingrid Hora received a BA in Architecture at Technical University in Vienna, Austria and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, UK. Based on the research of specific historical and geographical contexts, Hora’s work reflects upon the notion of “social cement”. She is interested in revealing the hidden cracks or the overall fragility in a collective edifice. How do people cope with norms? What happens when a set of norms collapses or changes dramatically? Hora doesn’t provide didactic answers, instead offers poetic and empathic observations of the world as it is or could be. Ingrid Hora was a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan, Casino Luxembourg, Khoj in Delhi and at Art Centre Los Angeles. She has taught at the Royal College of Art, Architectural Association and London Met.

Basir Mahmood / b. 1985, Lahore, Pakistan / Lives and works in Pakistan.

Basir Mahmood graduated in 2010 with a BA in Fine Arts holding a distinction from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. His practice deals with reenacting specific events, which are observational and are represented as social commentaries. He involves his theatrical skills in directing his works, which are mostly minimal yet layered in their content. His interest in short films has won him various awards in the category of Best Director and Writer. ‘Gheera Chaasma’, a short film, was nominated at the Zabist Film Festival in Karachi which was written, directed and produced by Mahmood. His one minute short film ‘Dot in the line’ was shortlisted in the Filminute Film Festival in 2011. Mahmood is the recipient of Akademie Schloss Solitude fellowship for the year 2011-2012 in Stuttgart, Germany. He represented Pakistan at the Asia Pacific Triennial 2012 (APT 7) at Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia. His works were presented at the launch of Broad Museum at Michigan State University April 2012 and at Sharjah Biennial 11.

Michael John Whelan / b. 1977, Dublin, Ireland / Lives and works in Berlin.

Michael John 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 in 2004. Recent exhibitions include: The Birth and Death of Stars, Boetzelaer Nispen, London; KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen, Hannover; Artissima 18, Italy (with Grey Noise, Dubai); Taste my photons, Noorderlicht Gallery, Groningen; Under the receding wave, Kunstverein Bochum; Cinematic, Kunstverein Bremerhaven; Where Gravity Makes You Float, Grimmuseum, Berlin. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Clifford Chance/University of the Arts Sculpture Award. His work is in a number of public and private collections.

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