Discussion between The Renaissance Society Associate Curator and Director of Education, Hamza Walker, and artist, Danh Vo at the opening reception of his solo exhibition, "Uterus". The exhibition will be on view September 23 - December 16, 2012.
Since 1975, Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey has developed a body of work distinguished for its commitment to portraiture as means for understanding contemporary social circumstances. Ranging from chance street encounters to studio portraits, Bey has investigated a range of methods to find increased engagement with his subjects, and the resulting candor and expression such images convey. The Renaissance Society is pleased to present a career survey of Bey’s work, including a new chapter of Strangers/Community featuring portraits of individuals from Hyde Park, Chicago, home to both the University of Chicago and the artist. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue including new scholarly essays, and is being slated to travel.
A recurring fantasy in film and literature is the fate of characters exiled to a place where the structures of society no longer apply. Angels Camp-First Songs is a four screen video installation featuring an array of characters who in Antille's words "have decided to run away from society" to a place "where they build their own rules." Lasting a total of eighteen minutes, the work contains both the magic and violence of a fairy tale. It begins with an angel who doubles as a chanteuse. Played by Antille, this character opens and concludes the piece. Based on her actions, her position is one of judgment and/or an "immoral 'angel'" requiring sacrifice. The remaining characters form a makeshift family of refugees whose raucous play reveals both the liberating and negative aspects of their freedom.
Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1972 Antille belongs to a growing number of artists (Pierre Huyghe, Catherine Sullivan, Katarzyna Kozyra, Isaac Julien) who use the gallery space and the medium of video to reconfigure the traditional cinematic experience. But unlike that of her colleagues, Antille's work is derived from longer narrative videos. Both the feature length video and the installation, however, are allowed to function independently of one another, each a work in its own right. For Angels Camp-First Songs, Antille has chosen particular scenes from the end of a 78 min. work simply entitled Angels Camp. Shot over the course of 2001-2002, Angels Camp is divided into four chapters, one for each season. It involves such themes as the discrepancy between dream and reality, and mother/daughter relations that run throughout all of her work. Angels Camp-First Songs extends the notion of kin to a Swiss Family Robinson of happenstance. The use of multiple screens allows the piece to unfold in a non-linear manner. Their number and scale (10' x 13') provide for a "direct and immediate" experience precluding the need for a story-line linking the characters. In short, the viewer is placed in the action of this uncharted desert isle.