Mark Wallinger curates The Russian Linesman: Frontiers, Borders & Thresholds

1 May 2009, Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery

537px-primatenskelett-drawingWhizzed through this exhibit today, as it is closing this weekend, yikes! I keep missing so many exhibits, thinking eh, I’ll go next week.

Curated by 2007 Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger, also known for being commissioned to create the Angel of the South (the big White Horse that will be down in Kent), this exhibit generally explores the ambiguities of perception… the differences in knowledge, experience, illusion and reality. Quite a broad theme really, which can be dangerous as it could mean the exhibition could lack cohesiveness. However, he does a really good job. I think another theme that ties the exhibition together is (black) humour and irony. Or maybe I just like and particularly remember the pieces that had an ironic and humourous angle to them.

My five favourites…

A drawing of a human skeleton next to a gorilla skeleton. heh heh makes you want to laugh.

A video of a pair doing the sound cue dubbing for a movie… we could not stop laughing… what a fun (and extremely random and absurd) job. They were producing the soundtrack for a scene that had people walking in the rain, doors slamming, thundering etc. They really think of the tiniest details and the things they use to make certain sounds are very creative and yes, absolutely hilarious.

vdjbVéronique Doisneau (2005) A few years ago, Jerome Bel collaborated with Doisneau, documenting the life of a corps de ballet dancer. This particular video shows a product that came out of that project – a performance, or rather, a reflective monologue she was asked to give at Palais Garnier right before her retirement. It was a tribute to the corps de ballet dancers, giving the audience a peek into the world of a ‘typical’ dancer who never becomes the etoiles and how difficult that is. She performs her dream role Giselle (humming the music herself, in a moment that is so intensely public yet private..slightly eerie). She then performs what a typical corps de ballet dancer does in Swan Lake – a piece she despises the most because they are made to stand in the most awkward/tiring positions. And you can’t help but pity (but also laugh) when you see her stand there in a position for minutes, come to life for four-8s and then having to return to that position again for minutes. You can totally imagine what is happening on the rest of the stage, while she stands to one side. Really quite intense and slightly chilling… Jerome Bel has once again successfully produced a performance that turns around and questions its own nature.

A piece called corridor… you basically walk down this carpeted corridor, and the corridor continues up the wall and around the corner. So cool! 😀

A video where the right side of the screen shows old-school movies made in Berlin, while the left side of the screen shows what the scenes/sets look like in modern day Berlin. Interestingly, I spotted more trees nowadays and the buildings are definitely more well-kept… but also a lot more ads.

Actually now that I’m looking at the exhibition website.. there are so many works that are really serious and not funny at all. I do remember seeing these pieces now. Maybe it’s because I whizzed through the exhibit…but it’s quite odd how personal tastes, the brain and memories work!

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