January 16, 2020 - Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art - Christine Rebet: Time Levitation
January 16, 2020

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

Christine Rebet, Thunderbird (still), 2018. Animation shot on 16 mm transferred to HD, sound, 5:40 min. Courtesy the artist and Bureau, New York.

Christine Rebet
Time Levitation
January 23–March 26, 2020

Preview: January 22, 6–8pm

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
UK

parasol-unit.org
Instagram / Twitter

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents as the final exhibition in its current London space, works by French artist Christine Rebet. This, her first solo show in the United Kingdom, occupies both floors of the gallery and comprises six hand-drawn animated films that address the traumas of personal and collective histories, illusion, and the destruction of our environment and cultural heritage. Using traditional techniques of early animation Rebet explores the unconscious to create tales that are both anti-heroic and satirical.

At the centre of Rebet’s practice is drawing, which she often develops into an animated film, sculpture, installation or performance art. With a background in theatre design, Rebet presents many of her animated films within custom-built spaces and installed together with props to create an immersive environment. To provide a better understanding of the artist’s concepts and technique, the presentation of each film is accompanied by a selection of Rebet’s preparatory and related drawings. 

Showing in the ground-floor gallery are five of Rebet’s animated works from 2005 to 2018. One of her earliest animations, Brand Band News, 2005, takes on a dreamlike yet macabre quality as a sequence of events unfold, examining the phenomenon of renewal and the quest for identity. The Black Cabinet, 2007, a dark yet whimsical film set in a 19th-century parlour, deals with themes of trickery, illusion and political propaganda. The Square, 2011, though inspired by Samuel Beckett’s 1981 quadrilateral ballet Quad, was created in direct response to the collective protests and social unrest in public squares in Egypt and the Middle East during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. In the Soldier’s Head, 2015, is based on the story of Rebet’s own father who, having been a soldier in the Algerian War, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. And in Thunderbird, 2018, Rebet animates a divine myth which was inscribed on ancient terracotta pillars discovered in the Middle East, and responds to the destruction and pillage of major archaeological sites in the region.

Presented in the first-floor gallery and making its UK premiere is Rebet’s most recent animated film Breathe In, Breathe Out, 2019, produced by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain as part of their Nomadic Nights exhibition, Trees. Inspired by the Eastern practice of meditation and her own trip to Thailand, the artist became interested in various stages of life, of which metamorphosis seems to be the most poignant manifestation. In this almost 8-minute animation, the worlds of plants and animals intermingle with architectural and archaeological structures to evoke the devastation of our natural environment in this era of globalisation.

Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Parasol unit, the Christine Rebet: Time Levitation exhibition is accompanied by a programme of related educational events.

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