The artworks in Drifting Histories address how geography and memory can offer alternative mappings of history. The works create portraits of sites that embody a high degree of realism, as the information is drawn from historical facts, but has been reconfigured and interpreted by the artists to shed new light on the history of place. Their artistic strategy is to challenge the mainstream narrative of history, raising our awareness of the means through which history is constructed, conveyed, and remembered. They are skeptical of the notion of historical “truth” and their topographical representations embrace a critical distance rooted in postmodernity. The works in Drifting Histories range from installation, to photography, to film. They share a common drive to subvert the tropes of the realist mediums by delving into the realm of perception and allegorical representation.
Julia Aranda’s installation You Had No Ninth of May! (2006 – current) is a conceptual journey through geography and time. Aranda’s subject is Kiribati, an archipelago of islands in the south pacific located at the center of the International Date Line (IDL). This geographic emplacement has the most disconcerting effect as the inhabitants of Kiribati were on different weekdays amongst themselves. Kiribati’s temporal divide was resolved in 1995 when the country appealed to the IDL so that all of its islands could be in the same time zone. Aranda has represented this shift in the IDL in numerous forms, from angular line drawings representing the oscillations of the line around landmasses, to a newspaper gathering archival material on Kiribati, to longitude coordinates announcing the different placements of the IDL.
Rosa Barba’s film Outwardly from Earths Center (2007) merges the filmic genres of documentary and science fiction to create an ambiguous journey to Gotska Sandön, an island off the coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea. The Swedish identity of the island is potentially at risk as the island is slowly drifting away from Sweden. Barba’s film gives voice to a local scientist and an archivist who communicates their rescue plans to anchor the island. Barba’s film then enacts one of these utopian missions in a fantastical and existentialist form.
Andrea Geyer Spiral Lands / Chapter 2 (2008) is a multi-media installation that utilizes a dual construct of an enacted discourse and photographs taken by the artist in 2008 of the Chaco Canyon, a National Historic Park in New Mexico.Spiral Lands / Chapter 2 is constructed as a pairing of excerpts from post-colonial and postmodern discourse with a sequence of photographic representations of landscape from the Southwest. Geyer’s piece brings forward an ethos of subjectivity where multiple narratives create a panoptical view of the American Indian topographical history. Geyer’s approach is dialogical, by allowing the two fields and perspectives to exist in parallel and without striving for conclusions and conceptual hybridism.
Korpys/Löffler’s Villa Feltrinelli (2008) presents a different entry point whereby the floor plan of a villa becomes the architectural common place for elements of Italian history to be mapped. The piece deploys tropes of an apparently peaceful Mediterranean retreat with intersecting flashes from the dark history of its inhabitants. The film lures the viewer into a harmonious journey through the domestic setting of Villa Feltrinelli temporarily inhabited by three men— Feltrinelli, Mussolini, and Pasolini—prior to their respectively tragic destinies. The piece draws allegorical connections between these events, presenting the history of the villa as a contraction of moments in time, which have been selected and activated by the artists.
Julieta Aranda’s work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as (selection): The Kitchen (NY), 10th Lyon Biennial, Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NY (upcoming solo presentation, 2009), Conspire: Transmediale08, Berlin (2008); Present Future, Artissima, Torinno (2007); Escultura Social, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (2007); 2nd Moscow Biennial (2007)System Error, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, Italy (2007), Dictionary of War, Muffathalle, Munich, Germany (2006), Trial Ballons, MUSAC, Spain (2006), An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life, REDCAT, Los Angeles, (2006), Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2009 / 2006), Version 6.0, Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, France (2005); IX Baltic Triennial, Contemporary Art Center (CAC), Vilnius, Lithuania / Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London, England (2005); Moderna Galerija, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia, (2004); Centro Nacional de las Artes, México City (2004); “ev+a, Imagine Limerick”, Limerick, Ireland (2004), Canaia, Mexico City, Mexico (2003); Platform Garanti, Istanbul, Turkey (2003), and VII Havanna Biennial; amongst others. Together with Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda put together Pawnshop and e-flux video rental.
Rosa Barba is an artist based in Berlin whose work to date includes film and sculptural installations with film. In the last two years she has had solo exhibitions in various international institutions such as, Dia Art Foundation, New York, Vertiginous Mapping, a web project, (www.diaart.org/barba) (2008-present), Esbama, Beaux Arts, Montpellier (2008), Villa Romana, Florence (2008), Bildmuseet Umea, Sweden (2008), Stedelijk Museum Bureau (2007), Amsterdam, Baltic Art Center, Visby, Sweden (2006). Her work has been recently included in (selection): Rooms Look Back, Kunsthalle Basel (2008), Italics, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2008), 50 Moons of Saturn, Torino Triennale (2008). Monographic articles were recently published in Mousse (January 2009), Modern Painters (December 2008), Artforum Pic (November 2008), and an artist publication series Printed Cinema #1-10 just came out at Walther König.
Andrea Geyer lives and works in New York City and Freiburg, Germany. In 2008 selected solo exhibitions include: 9 Scripts from a Nation at War (collaboration with Sharon Hayes, Ashley Hunt, Katya Sander and David Thorne), REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA and TATE Modern, London. Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne. Galerie Hohenlohe, Vienna. Spiral Lands / Chapter 2. Lecture, Modern Mondays, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work has been included in major group exhibitions (selection): T2-50 Moons of Saturn, Torino Triennale, Italy (2008). documenta12. Kassel (2007), Artist Space, New York (2006), Secession, Vienna (2005), Kunstverein München, Germany (2004), Whitney Museum of American Art (2003). Serpentine Gallery, London (2002). She currently teaches at the Malmö Art Academy, Sweden.
Andree Korpys and Markus Löffler, are based in Berlin and Bremen. Since 1989 they have been collaboratively working in film and installation. They have had solo exhibitions of their work at (selection): Secission, Vienna (2008); Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg (2007); Sprengel Museum Hanover(2007). Korpys/Löffler’s work has also been included in group exhibitions (selection): Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (2008); The Soul (or, much trouble in the transportation of souls), Manifesta 7, Trento, Italy (2008); Room Report, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2008); Reality Bites,Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis (2007).
Drifting Histories is curated by Anaïs Lellouche as part of the requirements for the master of arts degree in curatorial studies.
Student curated exhibitions at CCS Bard are made possible with support from the Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg Student Exhibition Fund; Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg; and the Patrons, Supporters, and Friends of the Center for Curatorial Studies. Special thanks to the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.