There's no accounting for other peoples relationships. This exhibition brings together eight international artists whose work deals with the complexity of human relationships revealing the passion, cruelty, despair, love, betrayal and obsession which is both obvious and hidden to both ourselves and those around us. Artists: Nan Goldin, Julika Rudelius, Pekka Niskanen, Pipilotti Rist, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Monika Oechsler, Dara Friedman and Yang Fudong.
"There's no accounting for other peoples relationships"
Artists: Nan Goldin, Julika Rudelius, Pekka Niskanen, Pipilotti Rist, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Monika Oechsler, Dara Friedman and Yang Fudong.
This exhibition brings together eight international artists whose work deals with the complexity of human relationships revealing the passion, cruelty, despair, love, betrayal and obsession which is both obvious and hidden to both ourselves and those around us.
Nan Goldin's work captures moments that cumulatively tell stories of friendship, desire and their aftermath. Her work traverses the spectrum of human relations from love to isolation, betrayal, loss and self-revelation. Emotionally charged, and shot in intensely saturated hues, these images provide a slice of contemporary history, recounted through the lives of those close to her and characterised an unposed and private take on her subjects.
Julika Rudelius in her work investigated human behaviour, as well as the codes and characteristics that groups use to identify themselves. In 'Train' 2001 Rudelius captures the unguarded boasting of a group of young men, as they recount, in an apparent game of sexual 'one-man-up-ship' and ever more graphic language, their sexual conquests. Their boasting masks their inability to make honest emotional connections with the opposite sex as well as to open up emotionally to their peers without sexual bragging.
Pekka Niskanen examines the influences that erode the sexual identities of his family. In 'As a Matter of Fat' Niskanen makes reference to the work of children's author Tove Jansson, examining the notions of fear, neuroses and the recurrent leaving-and-coming-back-home themes of the Moomin family stories. The Moomintrolls also interest Niskanen because of the indefinable sexual and emotional bonds - one would like to add "attraction" - between them.
Pipilotti Rist reconciles serious art with popular music video - the cinematic and theatrical production of rock-song performance. Rist feeds on music video as a whole, she receives it's formal and emotional powers, making herself one with the viewer in experiencing what is now, at last, an art. A Rist video shows a song doing what a good love song does - changing a life. Her candour on this score at once demystifies music video and increases it's seductive tug. It pertains to a feeling of expectancy - a promise of happiness whose fulfilment is always just around the corner.
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's, video 'Family Sha-La-La' 1998, takes as it's basis the Dreamhouses. Sha-La-La in the Morning, a generic pop song that was a big hit in 1997-98 in the artist's native country of the Philippines, and the Far East. Its popularity gave birth to a ritual of its own: in the street or at parties, or wherever children and teenagers would perform a special dance. The artist along with her family re-enact the dance. Her brothers at the back of the group display more energy and machismo than elegance, whereas her little sister's skipping speaks of teenage bashfulness. The artists Mother is the first in the line-up and gets away with it by virtue of matriarchal dignity; her Father at the back, is hopeless. Most of the time most of them are out of step. If the dance offers the possibility of an embodied sense of self to the social, every missed step and weird gyration of the dancers in 'Family Sha-La-La' speaks of the process of individual understanding of cultural differences in a world that seeks to create a global hegemony.
Monika Oechsler's video 'The Chase' touches on the genre of Film Noir and the psycho-thriller. A male and female performer encircle each other in a never-ending race, each going to their maximum level of physical strength. With the simultaneous gazes of both the camera and viewer we become implicit in the construction of difference and desire.
In Dara Friedman's DVD projection, 'Romance', the viewer becomes both voyeur and participant when we happen upon couples kissing at a scenic outlook in Rome. Friedman's narratives are the essences, perhaps poetic, of actions or situations. Instead of seeing the entire story, her "fragmented narratives" cut to the chase, enter at the climax, distil a situation to its essence, fast-forward to the important bit. But something else happens. You get to a turning point, a decisive moment, where you really feel something, where the story is paired down to it's crucial point.
Yang Fudong's first 35mm black and white film 'An Estranged Paradise', 1997-2002, a poetic, detailed meditation upon life's inescapable moments of peace, boredom, love and melancholia, recalls a time before ubiquitous information and global capital. Zhuzi, a young intellectual living with his fiancÃ©e Linshan in Hangzhou - a picturesque city which in English translates into "paradise" - goes through an imaginary illness which he fails to recognise as a form of restlessness, before it clears as the rainy season in Hangzhou draws to a close. Self-knowledge is interwoven with a respect for the natural world where space, time, change, feelings, emotions, and stories connect with the essence of nature.
Susannah Chan - Public Lecture Thursday 7th November at 7.30pm
Janet Naclia - Schools Tour Thursday 28th November at 11am
Niall Richardson - Schools Tour Thursday 5th December at 11am
Ormeau Baths Gallery, 18a Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HS, Northern Ireland
Tel: + (028) 90321402 / Fax: + (028) 90312232