Project Space: Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear

Project Space: Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear

Tate Modern

Sherif El-Azma, Powerchord Skateboard, 2006. Video still. Courtesy of Sherif El-Azma and Artist Pension Trust Dubai.

November 28, 2012

Project Space: Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear
9 November 2012–17 February 2013

Tate Modern
Project Space, Level 1
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
Admission free
Hours: daily 10–18h; 
until 22h Friday–Saturday

T +44 (0)207 887 8888

Tate Modern’s Project Space continues its series of international collaborations with Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear. This exhibition explores the tension between image, narrative and the viewer’s perception. It brings together works by seven international artists: Herman AsselberghsManon de BoerSherif El-AzmaPatricia EsquiviasLars LaumannMaha Maamoun, and Ján Mančuška.

Since its birth, cinema has made a paradoxical demand on its viewers: to consciously suspend their disbelief. This remains a preoccupation for contemporary artists who have grown up exposed to an intense flow of still and moving images. The film and video works in this exhibition expose the fracture between what we are shown on screen and what we see. Borrowing from various cinematic conventions, as well as formats including lecture, documentary, rehearsal and found footage, they examine the limits of our imagination and credulity. With a variety of approaches, their references move between the black boxes of movie theatres and the ‘black mirrors’ of our TV screens, computers and smart phones. The exhibition blurs the boundary between depiction and deception and questions the logic of storytelling. Does the illusive charm of the moving image undermine its authority as a visual record? And what role does the viewer’s imagination play in constructing a narrative?

The works on display include Manon de Boer’s film Dissonant (2010), which depicts a woman listening to a melody and performing an accompanying dance once the music has finished. The work explores the materiality of film, playing on audience memory and how senses—in this case sound and vision—supplement each other. It will also present Herman Asselberghs’s recent film Speech Act (2011), which charts the offences of mainstream cinema and homogenised pop culture in relation to the avant-garde film tradition.

Works by Ján Mančuška include the short video Double (2009), in which the border between act and its re-enactment becomes confusingly blurred, whilst Patricia Esquivias’s enquiry into the process of mythologizing and storytelling, Folklore II (2008) juxtaposes biographical facts from the lives of two Spanish ‘icons’, King Philippe II and celebrity pop singer Julio Iglesias. Based on an obscure online conspiracy theory, Lars Laumann’s visual essay Morrissey Foretelling the Death of Diana (2006) delves into a frenetic decoding of Morrissey and The Smiths’ 1986 album The Queen is Dead alongside a montage of films clips and pop culture references.

The exhibition also includes Sherif El-Azma’s video installation Powerchord Skateboard (2006), which uses sequences of images and TV aesthetics to explore the relationship between personal and collective memory. Maha Maamoun’s Night Visitor: the Night of Counting the Years (2011) is comprised of found YouTube footage relating to the storming of the State Security headquarters in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, whilst another work by Maha Maamoun 2026 (2010) references Chris Marker’s iconic film La Jetée (1962).

The exhibition is curated by Kasia Redzisz, Tate Modern and Aleya Hamza, an independent curator based in Cairo. It is a collaboration between Tate Modern and Contemporary Image Collective Cairo. The curatorial exchange is supported by DCMS World Collections Programme with the collaboration of Gasworks. The Project Space series has been made possible with the generous support of Catherine Petitgas.

For further press information and images please contact Kate Moores, Tate Press Office
T +44(0) 207 887 8731 / F +44(0) 207 887 8729 /  pressoffice [​at​]

Project Space
Project Space at Tate Modern (formerly the Level 2 gallery) is dedicated to presenting contemporary art through a series of collaborations with cultural organisations around the world. The programme brings together curators from both Tate Modern and other international venues for contemporary art to work together on an exhibition for both locations. Based on curatorial exchange and dialogue, the series showcases the work of new, recently established or rediscovered international artists. The exhibitions therefore open up the possibility of introducing new work and interpretations within differing global contexts. 

This series of discursive exhibitions began in 2011 and, to date, has included collaborations with institutions in Amman, Lagos, Istanbul, Mexico City, Warsaw and Cairo. Forthcoming exhibitions are being developed with partners in Lima and New Delhi. The Project Space series aims to explore the most challenging art of today as well as the complexities of operating within a global context for contemporary art.

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Tate Modern
November 28, 2012

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