A Summer Show
July 8 -August 26, 2005
Chantal Akerman: Marcher à coté des ses lacets dans un frigidaire vide (titre provisoire)/ To Walk Next to One's Shoelaces** in an Empty Fridge, 2004
Yang Fudong: City Light, 2000
Thomas Struth: Peru Photographs, 2003-2004
Marian Goodman Gallery is pleased to present a summer exhibition featuring three solo projects by gallery artists: an installation by Chantal Akerman, a film by Yang Fudong, and a recent series of photographs taken in Peru by Thomas Struth. All three projects will have their premiere in the United States in this exhibition, which opens to the public on July 8th and runs through August 26th.
Chantal Akerman (in the North Gallery): To Walk Next to One's Shoelaces in an Empty Fridge
On view in the North Gallery will be an installation in three parts by Chantal Akerman, titled Marcher à coté des ses lacets dans un frigidaire vide (titre provisoire)/ "To walk next to one's shoelaces** in an empty fridge" 2004. The point of departure for the three pieces in Akerman's installation is a journal written by her grandmother (1905-1940) when she was a teenager in Poland. In the first, darkened room texts written by the artist herself, intermingled with selected phrases from the grandmother's journal, stream across the walls of a room-size spiral structure. Made of a white, diaphanous material, the spiraling walls call to mind the properties of a screen or scrim, a skin, or even a bandage. Passing between the walls, on which the projected words become ever fainter and on which the shadows of other viewers appear and disappear like spectral presences, the viewer loses a sense of orientation while progressing to the center, from which a path leads her out to a second room on the other side.
Close to the front of the second room is a flat screen, made of the same diaphanous material as the spiral structure. Projected on to this smaller screen are pages from the grandmother's journal: on the left, entries in Polish by the grandmother herself; in the center, entries added to the journal in French by the artist's mother when she was a young girl in Brussels; and on the right, entries added years later when the artist and her sister found it as children. The images of the static pages are animated by the slow and halting movements of the camera as it passes over them evoking the bodily experience of attempting to read an almost indecipherable text.
On the wall behind the diaphanous screen is projected a split-image film of the artist talking with her mother about her memories of her own mother, of her experiences in the camps, and of the life she made for herself and her family as a survivor. The film also shows mother and daughter examining pages of the journal and attempting to read the grandmother's faded handwritten entries in Polish--a language which the mother has to struggle to remember. Sometimes mother and daughter appear on separate sides of the split image. Sometimes one occupies both sides. Sometimes their faces and bodies merge in the center. Vivid to mother and daughter alike are the words with which, as a fifteen-year-old, the grandmother started her journal: 'I am a woman. . .you are my only confidant. . .you will never betray me.
"It all started off with the journal, my grandmother's journal. The only thing we have left, my mother always says."
"Often I mull it over in my mind and I work with the notion of lacking, of nothingness as my mother also says. Here, I worked with what we had left. Not much, yet an entire world."
"For years, I was obsessed by this journal, this 'Tagebuch' which begins: 'I am a woman! Therefore, I cannot…', written in Polish in 1920 by a 15 year old girl in a very Orthodox Jewish milieu, my grandmother, the mother of my mother."
"This journal, one finds it in the exhibition's two parts."
"It is its center."
"It irrigates both the first piece and the second part."
"It is essential, as well. It is projected on a tulle screen which allows one to see the background in transparency. The background, which is the only part of the installation projected on solid material, a wall. Otherwise, everything plays upon transparencies. First, the labyrinth, a space too large for us, as if haunted by the words that envelope us and take us to it, the journal. In the dark and in intimacy. Yet this time, face to face."
"It barely hides the image of the mother and daughter, or if you like, of the daughter and grand-daughter…"
"The grand-daughter who asks her mother to translate the first page of her mother's journal for her. The mother who will discover on this day, what is projected at the center of the installation. What she herself had written, in French, when she had returned from that place and who spoke to her mother who was no longer there and who finished with 'protect me' and what her two daughters, still little, added to her mother's last words."
"If one passes though the neatly transparent labyrinth, one will undoubtedly find the words exchanged between mother and daughter, the words of the journal and the secret connection, which runs from one projection to the next."
Chantal Akerman, June 2004
(**To walk next to one's shoelaces: a French phrase meaning: to be out of it).
Chantal Akerman was born in 1950 in Brussels. Most recently, her work was shown in a solo exhibition at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires/ Malba, Buenos Aires. In 2004 her films were the subject of a large retrospective survey, Chantal Akerman: Autoportrait en Cineaste at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She has been included in many group exhibitions, including Faces in the Crowd, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, and Whitechapel, London; Crossing the Line, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Documenta XI, Kassel; and the 2001 Venice Biennale, and has participated in numerous international film festivals. Chantal Akerman lives and works in Paris.
Yang Fudong (in the North Gallery Viewing Room): City Light
On view in North Gallery Viewing Room will be a film by Yang Fudong City Light, 2000 (6 min., b & w and color). City Light consists of two plot lines: a woman and two men--the latter, doppelgängers—one of whom emerges from the shadow of the other while both navigate urban life, switching identities from day to night, behaving in strict rigid codes of workmanship during the day and performing feats of daring or corruption at night. Intertwined with dreams and dances, the film highlights the split identity that metropolitan existence often engenders. For this work Yang Fudong has drawn on his own personal experiences of Shanghai:
The original intention of the film City Light is based on my feelings of living in Shanghai. Shanghai is a big city. I wasn't living here before. Now I live and work here in order to earn money. Everyday life is like a routine. Sometimes I feel I'm two persons. The me during the day and the me at night. The me during the day works all the time while the me at night constantly thinks. ... I think especially for middle class people there is the problem that you go to work and later you are at home and feel like another person, there is a juxtaposition of identities. City Light is about a person's split identity. The comical aspects in the film are not necessarily humorous. Behind the comedy there is cruelty.' (Yang Fudong, in conversation with Gerald Matt, in Yang Fudong, Kunsthalle Vienna catalogue, 2005).
Yang Fudong was born in 1971 in Beijing. He graduated from the China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou. His work has been seen in solo exhibitions at Castello di Rivoli, Turin; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; and in such group shows as Outlook, Athens; the 50th Venice Biennale; Documenta 11, Kassel; and the Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan. Yang Fudong lives and works in Shanghai.
Thomas Struth: (in the South Gallery): Peru Photographs
In the South Gallery new photographs taken in Peru by Thomas Struth will be on view. The Peru Photographs were inspired by Struth's invitation in 2003 to travel to South America to participate in the 26th Biennial of Sao Paulo, which took place in the fall/winter of 2004. There he was drawn to discovering the cryptic landmarks of the Peruvian desert province Nasca. The 2004 Biennial's motto, No man's land, gave Struth further inspiration to photograph these ancient icons of flora and fauna of the Nasca culture.
The Peru Photographs include architectural, landscape, and museum genres, all of which have informed Struth's oeuvre over the last two-and-a-half decades, from early black & white street photography of the late seventies to the recent series of color urban-scapes; from the classic Winterthur vistas of the late nineties, to the close-up tropical paradise pictures, and the open horizons of the American West.
In the Peru pictures Struth returns to the quintessential central perspective of his early black & whites in Jiron Cailloma, Lima and Pasaje de 27 Setiembre, Lima; to the dense immediacy of foliage in Paradise 26 (Bougainvilla); to the timeless urban square in Plaza Elguera, Lima; and to the grand church interior, a mix of mudejar painting, Spanish baroque and vernacular ornament in Iglesia de San Francisco, Lima. In a series of large format landscapes he pays tribute to the grand panorama of the open South American sky in Nasca Lines I and II. The latter are photographs of archaeological enigmas etched into and stretching across the Nasca desert plains in the Pampa region of Southern Peru, the mysterious and iconic geolyphs from the prehispanic period which include three hundred figures of straight lines and geometric shapes created by an ancient civilization called the Nazca (200 B.C. – 600 A.D.). For Struth, given his longstanding observation of urban and cultural structures, these images put the focus squarely on the importance of landscape with respect to the origin and evolution of culture.
The Peru Photographs were exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Museo de Arte de Lima this year, Thomas Struth: Imágenes del Peru. His work has recently been seen in additional one-man shows in Europe such as Pergamon Museum at the Museum for Fotografie, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin; and Thomas Struth: One Hour Portraits, a show of the video works, at the capc Musee 'art contemporain, Bordeaux.. In 2002-2003 a touring retrospective of his work opened to great acclaim, travelling from the Dallas Museum of Art, to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the MCA, Chicago.
Thomas Struth was born in Geldern (Lower Rhine) in 1954. He studied photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher and painting under Gerhard Richter at the Academy of Arts in Dusseldorf between 1981 and 1986. From 1993 to 1996 he held a professorship at the Staatliche Hochscule fur Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. He lives and works in Dusseldorf.
For further information, please contact the Gallery at: 212 977 7160.