‘I know something about love’, sing The Exciters in their first hit record ‘Tell him’ in 1962. This reoccurring lyric lends the multimedia group exhibition at Parasol unit its title. Shirin Neshat, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
and Yang Fudong
investigate the theme of love in different times and cultures through the spectrum of their personal experience, observation and commentary.
Yinka Shonibare MBE
will re-create the installation Jardin d’amour
(Garden of Love), which he originally showed in 2007 at the Museé du Quai Branly in Paris, albeit in a different configuration. In this work Shonibare applies a playful, yet a political perspective to his exploration of the theme of love in the eighteenth-century Rococo period in France. He creates scenes that resemble those familiar to us from paintings of that period: Three legendary paintings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard were the source of inspiration for the British-Nigerian artist. Set in a maze of ivy covered trellis, the installation includes secret hideaways and walks, along which wandering visitors discover The Confession, The Pursuit
and The Crowning
, three sculptural tableaux of beautifully dressed and affectionately engaged couples. The figures also suggest to the nobility’s last gasp of extravagance before the Revolution came grasping at its heels.
The Chinese artist, Yang Fudong
uses the medium of moving image to explore the theme of love in one of his early works, the 3-channel video installation Flutter, Flutter… Jasmine, Jasmine
, 2002. In it, Yang Fudong, known for his critical view on contemporary life in the rapidly changing society in China, looks into the private world of a young Chinese couple. Confused between traditional Chinese values and a modern way of looking at their relationship they question their feelings for one another.
examines the theme of love through the lens of gender, probably as established and enforced since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. In her two-channel video work, Fervor
, 2000, Iranian artist Neshat seems not only to highlight the frustration and helplessness of Iranian women in this paradigm, but also to demonstrate how the negative view of love within the revolutionary culture affects natural human feelings.
Slow dance marathon, 2005, by Cypriot artist Christodoulos Panayiotou
, explores the social construction of love through pop music and the form of slow dancing. In this video documentation of a 24 hour long performance, a human chain is formed by strangers who slow dance to the music of well-known love songs.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication with essays by Ziba Ardalan and Eva Illouz. It will be distributed internationally by Koenig Books.
Gallery opening hours:
Monday: by appointment, Tuesday–Saturday: 10 am–6 pm and Sunday: 12–5 pm.
From Angel Tube station, turn left and walk down City Road for ten minutes before turning left into Wharf Road at the Texaco petrol station. From Old Street Tube station, leave via Exit 1 and walk up City Road for five minutes. Turn right into Wharf Road after passing the Texaco petrol station.
Buses 43, 205 and 214 all travel down City Road.
Note to Editors
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is an independent educational charity devoted to promoting contemporary art for the benefit of the public. The core activity of the foundation is to showcase contemporary work of leading and young international artists in various media. In conjunction with each exhibition Parasol unit organises a series of talks and educational events. Each year, Parasol unit mounts four exhibitions in a variety of media, each of which is usually accompanied by a publication. In order to encourage the widest possible access to its exhibition programme, Parasol unit does not charge admission fees for its exhibitions.
Company registration: 05299582/ Registered charity number: 1107425