The ‘Future’ As Seen by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Award Lawrence Abu Hamdan the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo announced that Lawrence Abu Hamdan has been awarded the 2022 Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media. This is the third in an ongoing series of commissions offered jointly by the two institutions to support the creation, production, and acquisition of new work by international artists working in the expanding fields of video, film, performance, and sound. Abu Hamdan has received many accolades and a number of commissions throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. This project, in particular, stands as a singular and significant opportunity that will enable the artist to further develop, refine, and expand his growing practice and the subjects with which he works.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Photo by Miro Kuzmanovic. Courtesy of the artist.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Lebanese/British, born in Amman 1985) lives and works in Beirut. His work is distinguished by the ways in which he experiments with voice and sound to create complex political narratives. In these he employs surveillance technologies and archival materials to explore the juridical implications of listening and the role of sound as a tool to silence, suppress, and resist. Combining science, journalism, a commitment to social justice, and art, Abu Hamdan’s aural investigations have served as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and advocacy for organizations such as Amnesty International. His research has also contributed to the work of the multidisciplinary research group Forensic Architecture.

Performance still from Natq, a live audiovisual essay, 2019, by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Courtesy of the artist.

For the Future Fields Commission, Abu Hamdan has proposed an installation, tentatively titled How to Hear Impossible Speech: Lessons from the Division of Perceptual Studies, which aims to expand our understanding of testimony and witness through narratives of reincarnation—a belief in the transmigration of the soul from one life to the next. Though distinct from the artist’s more widely known acoustic investigations, this commission will maintain a focus on ideas of resonance as Abu Hamdan charts the transmigration of speech, not through walls, but across time, bodies, and complex histories of unrest, subjugation, and colonization.

Video still from Once Removed, 2019, by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Courtesy of the artist.

Abu Hamdan is developing the commission in close consultation with Amanda Sroka, the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, as well as Irene Calderoni, Curator at the Fondazione. The work will premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in spring 2022 and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin during the following winter. It will be jointly acquired by the two institutions.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “Lawrence Abu Hamdan has emerged as a powerful voice in contemporary art, and in this regard, he is the perfect choice for our Future Fields Commission. We look forward to the realization of his provocative project proposal, and are delighted both to partner once again with the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, and to share the outcome of our collaborations with visitors.”

Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said, “Future Fields is an extraordinary tool to explore contemporary art exactly where it is most vital, in the works of a new generation of artists, across the globe, developing new forms of visual production. We are delighted that Lawrence Abu Hamdan has accepted to be part of the already notable roster of artists that have received the commission.

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, said: “We strongly believe that institutions today have a responsibility to support and foster art practices that are imaginative, daring, and committed, and Future Fields offers us a significant international platform to fulfil this aim. Lawrence Abu Hamdan is one of the most significant and innovative figures of his generation and we look forward to working with him on this ambitious project.”

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Philadelphia Museum of Art to Present New Work by Rachel Rose

Philadelphia Museum of Art Presents a New Work by Rachel Rose, On View May 2 through August 18, 2018

Rose is the Inaugural Recipient of The Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media Grant

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a new video installation by Rachel Rose, the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, which has been jointly awarded to the artist by the Museum and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. A project under development for nearly two years, this commission represents the most ambitiously scaled production in the artist’s career to date, leading to the creation of a work that will enter the collections of these two institutions. Titled Wil-o-Wisp, Rose’s work will be on view from May 2 through August 18, 2018, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It will then travel to the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy, where it will open in November.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Timothy Rub, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Seeing this project evolve since the awarding of the commission has been deeply gratifying. It demonstrates just how vital it is for institutions like ours to support emerging talent at precisely the time when such support is needed. This collaboration with our partners in Turin has also provided a wonderful opportunity to expand and strengthen our engagement with contemporary art.”

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

In 2016, the two esteemed arts and culture organizations established the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media as a collaborative initiative to jointly commission and acquire new work by artists from around the world who are active in video, film, performance, and sound. The Commission supports the creation and production of a new work every two years that will be presented at both the Museum and the Fondazione. With its unique focus and its commitment to the joint acquisition of the works produced with the support of this initiative, the commission aims to give unprecedented opportunities to international artists who are exploring new territory in these experimental modes of contemporary art. Rachel Rose is the inaugural recipient.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Rachel Rose has emerged as an important voice in contemporary video, widely recognized for her deft digital editing that aligns disparate visual images and historical references. This new commission has provided her with an opportunity to widen the scope of her interests by investigating narrative devices and story-telling. In Wil-o-Wisp, the artist has directed a live action video in which a woman’s fate becomes inextricably tied to moments of upheaval, suspicion, and persecution in 16th century agrarian England, a time during which the Enclosure Movement led to the privatization of land throughout the country. The video follows various vignettes of Elspeth’s life, cycling between familial moments and tragedy, the practice of magic and her persecution.PMAhorizontal

Rose strings dramatic moments together with temporal shifts, varying rhythms, an emotive score, and carefully constructed visual effects. The work reflects upon the harsh realities of English rural life during a time of a rising culture of suspicion in which women, such as Elspeth, engaging in nontraditional healing practices were often seen as threatening to an increasingly regulated society. The title of the work, Wil-o-Wisp, refers to ghostly lights that could be seen hovering at night over bogs and marshes and that, in folklore, could have the sinister effect of leading people astray. In Rose’s work, the title speaks to the characters whose paths are determined both by willful choices and the power of coincidence.

Directing a cast and crew of about thirty people, Rose shot the work at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that offered a period setting of houses in an English vernacular style and an austere winter landscape. Working with both trained and street-cast actors, as well as Plimoth Plantation guides, Rose both utilized the character of the site and added to it, creating her own imagined world within this setting. From costumes to set decorations, Rose combined period and contemporary materials.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Rose’s video is characterized as much by her intensive approach to post-production as by the attention she gives to the script and on-set staging. After filming the work in Plimoth, she added components such as a narrative sung by an ethereal voice in iambic pentameter. Orchestral and electronical scores serve to gather momentum and produce an emotional effect. Animals and people generate ghostly doubles, and a bright green moss seems to take over the barren landscape. In this work, Rose also continues her use of Medieval marginalia: drawn characters that populated Medieval manuscripts are here collaged to form words announcing certain protagonists and moments within the larger narrative. These elements coalesce with the depicted dramatic events to create a world in which the circumstance of history meets the coincidence and magic of fate.

Installed as a single-channel video and approximately ten minutes in length, Wil-o-Wisp will fill a large gallery that will include an eighteen-foot widescreen. It will be framed within an environment which is currently under development by the artist.

Erica Battle, The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, said: “While Rachel Rose’s carefully woven narrative is set in the past, it speaks to larger themes and concerns that are relevant to our world today. Wil-o-Wisp reflects the inescapable feeling that history is cyclical.”

Rachel Rose (American, born 1986) creates video installations that combine video, sound, and architectural elements. She has had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2017), the Aspen Art Museum (2016), the Museu Serralves in Porto, Lisbon (2016), the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (2015), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015). She was the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award (2015), and her work is collected by prominent institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; LUMA Foundation, Arles; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Ishikawa Foundation; Tate, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Rose received a BA from Yale University, New Haven, as well as an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and an MFA from Columbia University, New York. Continue reading

14 Rooms – Live art by 14 Celebrated International Artists Presented During 2014 Art Basel in June

Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel are delighted to announce ‘14 Rooms’, a major live-art exhibition to be staged in Basel from June 14 to 23, 2014. Originally commissioned as ‘11 Rooms’ by Manchester International Festival, the International Arts Festival RUHRTRIENNALE 2012-2014 and Manchester Art Gallery, the project was shown as ‘11 Rooms’ at Manchester International Festival in July 2011, as ‘12 Rooms’ at the International Arts Festival RUHRTRIENNALE 2012-2014 and as ‘13 Rooms‘ by Kaldor Public Art Projects at Pier 2/3 in Sydney’s Walsh Bay in April 2013. For each edition, the artists list partially changed.

Curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the exhibition will feature performative works by artists including Marina Abramović, Allora and Calzadilla, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Damien Hirst, Otobong Nkanga, Roman Ondák, Santiago Sierra, and Xu Zhen. With an overall exhibition design by Herzog & de Meuron, ‘14 Rooms’ is a collaboration between Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Base and will be accompanied by an education program conceived and run by Fondation Beyeler.

Curators Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large at The Museum of Modern Art, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, have invited 14 international artists to each activate a room, exploring the relationship between space, time and physicality with an artwork whose ‘material’ is a human being. Giving visitors an insight into a more performative and interactive practice, visitors will encounter a new situation within each of the 14 rooms, engaging in a diverse series of immersive and intimate experiences.

Allora & Calzadilla , Revolving Door, 2011, 11 Rooms Manchester International Festival (Photo credit: Howard Barlow)

Allora & Calzadilla , Revolving Door, 2011, 11 Rooms Manchester International Festival (Photo credit: Howard Barlow)

While the artists themselves are not present in these works, they instruct performers on how to act out their specifications, resulting in over 70 performers – primarily from the Basel region – taking part in the exhibition. ‘14 Rooms’ will be staged in Hall 3 of Messe Basel in walking distance from Messeplatz. The exhibition will open to the public ahead of Art Basel on Saturday, June 14 and will stay open until Monday, June 23, a day longer than the fair.

Inaugurated in 1997 and set in an idyllic park, the museum is the work of the star architect Renzo Piano. The Fondation Beyeler owes its special appeal to its combination of a world class collection comprising 250 masterpieces of modern, contemporary and ethnographic art, fascinating architecture, beautiful natural surroundings and temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art that match the highest international standards. Current and upcoming exhibitions and cooperations: Odilon Redon, Daros Latinamerica Collection, Gerhard Richter, 14 Rooms, Alexander Calder, Gustave Courbet, Peter Doig.

Xu Zhen  In Just the Blink of an Eye, 2005  11 Rooms Manchester International Festival  Photo credit courtesy Manchester City Galleries

Xu Zhen, In Just the Blink of an Eye, 2005, 11 Rooms Manchester International Festival
Photo credit courtesy Manchester City Galleries

The Theater Basel is Switzerland’s largest multipurpose theatre. Situated in the trinational metropolitan region it offers a broad and challenging programme of opera, drama, and ballet, as well as productions for children and young people. In the acting and musical theatre section, Theater Basel intends on promoting classical and traditional works as it is to present contemporary plays and modern opera and musical theatre including world premieres and German and Swiss debut performances to offer a wide variety and excitement in the repertoire. The Theater Basel offers a platform for experimental projects and is also keen to encourage young talents. It stands for a theatre with a local base and far reaching connections, lively, enthralling, traditional and innovative.

Conceived specifically for Basel, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Otobong Nkanga will create new works for the show. Alongside these world premieres, historical and rarely seen works by acclaimed artists from around the world will be brought to Basel. Continue reading