There is no archive in which nothing gets lost

There is no archive in which nothing gets lost

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)

Sonia Boyce in collaboration with Ain Bailey, Oh Adelaide, 2010. Video still. Image courtesy of the artist.

August 28, 2012
There is no archive in which nothing gets lost

Presented by the MFAH Core Exhibition Program
September 7–November 25, 2012

Opening: Friday, September 7, 6–8pm

The Glassell School of Art
5101 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX
Hours: Mon–Fri, 9am–10pm
Sat–Sun, 9am–7pm

T 713 639 7300

Curated by Sally Frater.

Featuring works in video by Sonia Boyce and Ain Bailey, Wangechi Mutu and Lorna Simpson, There is no archive in which nothing gets lost seeks to examine notions of “place” as explored through depictions of architecture, geographic locations and memory. Drawing its title from a line in Mattias Winzen’s essay Collecting – so normal, so paradoxical, the exhibition puts forth the proposition of the selected works as heterotopic archives in which the intersection of site, narrative and performative gesture within each disrupts the space of representation at a time in which the internet has served as a catalyst in the compression and flattening of actual lived experience.

Oh Adelaide (2010), a collaborative work by Sonia Boyce and Ain Bailey, incorporates found film of the late jazz singer and entertainer, Adelaide Hall. Boyce’s intervention with the footage renders its subject in an ethereal landscape in which she appears both in and outside of history; a sense that is underscored by Bailey’s soundtrack. Boyce describes the work as a “cross-generational dialogue that vacillates between activating the archive and a melancholic futurism.”

Wangechi Mutu’s Cutting (2004) was filmed in Texas in the U.S./Mexican border town of Presidio. The location, which has historically been a source of tension between the two nations, is depicted with the absence of markers that would make the landscape easily identifiable. Mutu depicts herself with a machete in hand, hacking away at a log that she is unable to sever. Her performed actions unearth the history of violence embedded within the geographical site that is depicted within the work.

Lorna Simpson’s Corridor (2003) is a dual projection video depicting two women, one is situated by the artist as operating within the context of the year 1860, which marks the beginning of the Civil War in the United States while the other is situated within the year 1960, which marks the passing of the Civil Rights Act in the United States. The fictionalized performances consider events from U.S. history while interrogating the ways in which the actual events to which the work refers have become mythologized and fixed within official narratives of history.

Sonia Boyce holds a BFA from Stourbridge College. She has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and internationally at venues including Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts, London; Tate Modern, London; the 7th Sharjah International Biennial, Sharjah; National Portrait Gallery, London; Barbados Museum & Historical Society; Thessaloniki Biennale 2; and Moscow Museum of Modern Art. An MBE, Boyce is currently a Research Fellow at University of the Arts London, and holds a Visiting Professorship at Middlesex University, in the Department of Fine Art.

Ain Bailey is a sound artist living and working in London. Her recent works include a live electronic performance of Ode To No. 6: Version 2, as part of Sonic CueB, a group show at the CueB Gallery, London, June 2012;  and the creation of a live soundtrack for the classic silent film Suspense by director Lois Weber at the Showroom Gallery. Bailey has also been commissioned by mouvoir, a Cologne-based dance company, to create sound works for inclusion in the productions Beautiful Me and Cactus Bar.

Wangechi Mutu holds an I.B. from the World College of the Atlantic, Wales, UK, a BFA from Cooper Union for the Advancement of the Arts and Science, New York and an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University. The artist has shown her work in solo exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal; The Savannah College of Art and Design; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. Mutu is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.

Lorna Simpson holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Guggenheim Museum, New York and Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany. Simpson is represented by Salon 96 Gallery in New York.

The Core Program at the Glassell School of Art receives generous funding from:
The Joseph and Sylvia Slifka Foundation
Andy Warhol Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)
August 28, 2012

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