Archive

Re: Exhibitions

Lisa Parola

Politically motivated violence, the political use of violence, violence as agitation, precarious violence, wide-spread violence, subaltern violence. Stressing that there cannot be a single interpretation to any of these phenomena, Fatma Bucak creates works that require a timely ethic derived from the relationship between the political, the poetic, and those who watch. The artist’s recent works evokes themes such as oppression, censorship, grief of disappearances and political violence.

Considering the complex tangle of facts and narratives around issues of political violence, this ethic is particularly evident in Remains of what has not been said: a series of photographs chronicling the collecting and processing of Turkish newspapers over 84 days beginning on 7 February 2016. This date marks the Cizre basement killings in south-eastern Turkey, a moment of fear and contradiction that typifies emotions still present across Turkey and Europe. The newspapers collected over the course of 84 days are visualized first as a video performance entitled Scouring the press in which two women and the artist wash the newspaper pages until they are opaque and devoid of content. Accompanying this video performance is a photographic series in which the artist is seen holding 84 glass jars containing the resulting blackened, spoiled water.

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Fatma Bucak, Detail of installation view of Remains of what has not been said, 2016. Eighty-four digital archival pigment prints. This work was made possible through the generous support of the Fondazione Sardi Per l’Arte, Torino.

Questions arise. How do you put art in conversation with current affairs, not just in Turkey, but across the world? And perhaps more pressingly what is the role of art and the artist in recent decades of violence and serious violations of human rights? In the first decade of the millennium, these topics have become the subject of much research by artists and curators who for various reasons have intervened on issues such as politics, communication, violence, and censorship. They approach political violence from specific cultural contexts that are increasingly market-oriented, investment-centric, and obviously embedded in spectacle, which diminishes the function of civil and political art and culture.

By contrast, Bucak’s recent work proposes artwork and the exhibition as a space for debate and reflection. In Europe and internationally, such interrogation has centered on two lines of research: the re-reading of parts of history and the documentation of facts looking forward. Bucak’s works engage both of these themes through a dialogue between art and current events. Her projects interrogate what is happening in Mediterranean countries and the surrounding region, poetically demand changes in perspectives, practices, and policies—exploring that fragile relationship full of gray areas between what has been, what is, and what will be.

The horizons in Remains of what has not been said gesture towards the boundaries and geographies that are increasingly difficult to define, and they challenge the rationalism of cartography. History has frayed, geographically speaking, and it is no longer possible to represent it as a closed geometry. Dismissing rhetoric and clichés that all too often accompany reflections on culture and art—especially regarding marginalized groups—Bucak deals with specific situations that bring out unexpected perspectives, suppressed facts, liminal places, inhabited borders, flexible time, and narrative geographies. Immersed in this tarnished landscape of political violence, her works do not merely present the public with a depiction of a temporary event, but they also provide a glimpse of what violence conceals. This prompts new interpretations and the opportunity to reexamine history, the present, and our place in it.

Bucak’s work reminds us that art and culture are transversal concepts that address memory, identity, testimonies and collective experience. Art can be a medium for questioning the past, but it must be able to establish a critical distance. Linear understandings of cultural identity promote simplicity at the expense of the very real complexity of what is happening around us. If we understand art as a space for political discussion, never before have images had so much potential as conceptual “resignification tools” to respond to crisis and failing paradigms of modernity. Art as political action during this global transition cannot simply represent what is. Art must also challenge reality and the power structures that underpin it, and ultimately art must challenge its own borders.

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This weekend, visitors to the Gallery joined artist John C Gonzalez for a sculpture workshop to participated in Installation Box, Version 4, 2016 as part of the exhibition Works well with others. Participants worked with Gonzalez to assemble new sculptures from the boxed sets of standardized materials. Completed sculptures are on display in the Gallery through June 12th.

Thank you to all the participants for joining and for sharing your work with us for the remainder of the exhibition.

 

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John meets participants of the first Installation Box workshop.

 

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John brings boxes to Lee and Devin.

 

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John works with Mary to organize components from the box.

 

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Completed sculptures on view through June 12, 2016.

 

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Gallery assistant, Amato Zinno, dips his roller to finish painting the gallery wall near Damien Hirst’s “Away from the Flock,” a piece from Hirst’s Natural History series that features a lamb in formaldehyde solution.

Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, January 21, 2016

The preparators at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University were busy Thursday afternoon installing the gallery’s upcoming show, “Dead Animals, or the Curious Occurrence of Taxidermy in Contemporary Art”. Jo-ann Conklin, the director of the Bell Gallery, has taken about 3 years putting together the exhibit that concentrates on the use of taxidermy in the work of various contemporary artists. The show opens to the public on Saturday, January 23 and on Feb 5th features a lecture by English artist, Polly Morgan, followed by a reception.

View the full slideshow here: http://www.providencejournal.com/photogallery/PJ/20160121/PHOTOGALLERY/121009999/PH/1

On November 19th renowned painter Glenn Brown will be joining us to talk about his practice. This exhibition is organized in conjunction with the exhibition SHE: picturing women at the turn of the 21st century. The lecture takes place at 5:30 pm in List Auditorium. A reception will follow.

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Glenn Brown, Filth, 2004
Oil on panel, 52 3/8″ x 37″ x 1 1/8″
Private collection
© Glenn Brown, Image courtesy Gagosian Gallery

On November 21 sculptor Orly Genger, known for her whimsical yet powerful public installations will be on Campus to discuss her latest public project, YOU, created specifically for Brown University’s front campus. The discussion takes place at 5:30 pm in List Auditorium. A reception and viewing will follow.

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Orly Genger, YOU, 2014
Recycled lobster rope and paint, 230′ long

Finally, the internationally acclaimed artist Glenn Ligon will give this year’s Gund Presidential Lecture on November 25th at 5:00 pm in Martinos Auditorium. Ligon was recently the subject of a widely praised mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

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Glenn Ligon, Untitled (America), 2008
Neon, 24 x 168 inches

Molly Booker has been a Providence residence for 11 years, and is an embed in the Olneyville arts community.

“Going Nowhere: Alumni Artists in Providence,” currently on display at the Bell Gallery, actually feels like the artists have been in conversation with each other — perhaps visiting studio spaces, or going to the same shows, or, maybe even, somehow ending up dating the same people.  The works in the exhibition, curated by Jori Ketten with Alexis Lowry Murray, are an Armillaria ostoyae of Providence; a many-headed fungus with a single deep-running root.

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Looking at Jenny Nichols screenprints

Breathe in, for instance, the absolute love of line in David Udris’ compact and complex prints, then wander over to the works of Kevin Hooyman for a much more narrative take on the theme.  Or, remember the texture and playfulness of Tatyana Yanishevsky’s installations as you absorb Xander Marro’s quilts… and from there, riff off of Xander’s colors, patterns, and the placement of individual elements within the compositions as you peruse over to Jenny Nichols’ “Crash’s Law,” “Blues Dogs” and “Green Dogs.”

 

García Márquez would have agreed with Hooyman’s larger pieces – particularly the magnetism of the mutedly colored panels. Foster Wallace (if you’ve read anything he’s written about Kafka) would have dug Peter Glantz’ Chronos-inspired tale of pending fatherhood.  In fact, there is something grandchild-of-Kafka-like in the root of this whole big mushroom: something unspeakably magical happened to me, then I discovered how small and insignificant I am. But hey – guess what? I am still unspeakably magical.

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