Hessel Museum of Art, March 24 – May 26, 2013
Contributors: Shumon Basar, Jean Marie Casbarian, An-My Lê, and Michael Rakowitz
A story is written on the wall, lending it a voice. A voice that does not know whom it is from, only where it starts and where it is received. We took the image and put the sound too loud; a we that brings together the you and the I. How we project the image directs its reading. Does it drown out or bring forth that voice? Here begin the breaks and transformations in reconstructing a narrative. Depending on which way you look, drifting past a contested land can be a metaphor for the command of a military’s soft-power, as captured in a set of photographs on the USS Dwight Eisenhower carrier navigating through the Suez Canal. Looking in the other direction, that same land becomes an ideological symbol or a character playing its part in a fiction. Histories of Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq are woven through the rise and rift of The Beatles. Multiple narratives intersect, and souvenirs from a previous time act as a device for remembering the past, imagining one narrative as it cuts through another’s trajectory. A slide projection holds still an image of a tarnished terrain, while a video loops the action of sweeping away the residue of a chemical weapons test. This is how the real is projected. The sequences that arrange and reproduce a narrative that we put together.
Shumon Basar is a writer.
Jean Marie Casbarian is an interdisciplinary artist who incorporates photography, film and video projections, sound, sculpture and performance into her artworks. She received her MFA from Milton Avery School of Art at Bard College in New York in the year 2000. Along with exhibiting her works throughout the United States, Europe, Central America and Asia, she has received a number of awards and artist residencies including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation nomination, The LaNapoule Foundation Grant in LaNapoule, France, the Chicago Artist’s Assistance Project Grant, and an Associateship with The Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute. As an educator, Jean Marie currently teaches and advises graduate students at Transart Institute, a low-residency MFA program based in Berlin and New York City and is also a faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York City. She has taught in the film and photography departments at Hampshire College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and for the ICP-Bard MFA program in New York. Jean Marie currently works in New York City.
An-My Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1960 but left Vietnam during the final year of the war in 1975 before finding a home as a political refugee in the U.S. Lê received an MFA from Yale University in 1993. Her film and photography examine the effects and representation of war and have included the documentation (and participation) in Vietnam War reenactments in North Carolina and Virginia. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts and has had exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography and Dia Beacon. Lê is the recipient of the 2012 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant. She is Professor of Photography at Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, New York.
Michael Rakowitz’s practice is characterized by his symbolic interventions of social and political situations. He bridges various narratives and geographies, working with different media. Rakowitz’s work has appeared in venues worldwide including Documenta 13, PS1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, the 10th Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt, and Transmediale 05. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Fried Projects in New York, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, and Stadtturgmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck. His public project, Return, was presented by Creative Time in New York. Rakowitz is the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award of 2012. He is the recipient of the Sharjah Biennial Jury Award, a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures, the 2003 Dena Foundations Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. Rakowitz is Associate Professor at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Curated by Fawz Kabra