December 15, 2020 - Secession - Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Green Coconuts and Other Inadmissible Evidence / Till Megerle: To be kind
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December 15, 2020

Secession

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Once Removed (production still), 2019. Courtesy the artist.

Till Megerle.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Green Coconuts and Other Inadmissible Evidence
Till Megerle: To be kind
December 8, 2020–February 7, 2021

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Green Coconuts and Other Inadmissible Evidence

In both his art and his audio investigations, Lawrence Abu Hamdan grapples with sound, speech, memory, and the quest for truth in the context of today’s legal and humanitarian crises.

The audiovisual installation After SFX (2018) developed out of an inquiry conducted in cooperation with Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture in 2016 into the Syrian torture prison Saydnaya. Abu Hamdan interviewed former inmates and worked with them to compile a sound archive of the prison that would allow for inferences concerning its architecture, the conditions of detention or the number of prisoners.

The two-channel video installation Once Removed (2019) shows the artist in conversation with the young historian Bassel Abi Chahine about the latter’s extensive archive on the Lebanese People’s Liberation Army, which he had collected in pursuit of material to reconstitute flashbacks from his previous life as Yousef Fouad Al Jawhary, who died during a combat mission at the age of sixteen in 1984. The related video A Speculative Portrait (for a boy who returned without his face) (2020) illustrates the production of an image based on a childhood photograph of what Al Jawhary might have looked like as a young adult. 

For the Otherwise Unaccounted (2020) is a series of prints from which Abu Hamdan drew on Dr. Ian Stevenson’s 1997 book Reincarnation and Biology: The Etiology of Birthmarks, a collection of cases from all over the world in which birthmarks correspond to the ways in which subjects died in their previous lives. The artist characterizes the presentation’s intention as follows: “The exhibition as a whole is developing specific formal and aesthetic strategies to produce conditions for listening to new kinds of testimony. Testimony that sits awkwardly in the forums we conventionally designate for the production of truth and history.”

Lawrence Abu Hamdan was born in Amman, Jordan, in 1985 and currently lives and works in Dubai (UAE).

Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s work is supported by Alserkal Arts Foundation.

Till Megerle
To be kind

Till Megerle’s works attest to his sustained interest in the specificity of codes and their manifold resonance in bodies and gestures. In his exhibition To be kind he presents new drawings. His figurative pictures insistently point up the protean, alien, and psychedelic facets of the quotidian. Many of them show scenes involving oddly convoluted and deformed bodies. Their physical intensity derives from moments of playfulness and grotesquerie laced with barely contained violence. Megerle’s visual studies in the social characteristics and standing of figures take inspiration from historic works of art like the paintings of Pieter Bruegel, Matthias Grünewald and Edvard Munch, but also from pop-cultural references such as skateboarding and gabber videos. A conspicuous feature of his art is the mixture of styles and techniques. Working with charcoal and ink, but also with crayons and ballpoint pens, he layers dense aggregates of subtle hatching and graduated shading in compositions whose apparent homogeneity gives way to complex internal contradictions as discontinuities of perspective and sometimes caricatural exaggerations come into view. The result is an interplay between rigorous form and a semblance of amateurishness that is also discernible in the idiom of his photographs and films and unmistakably anchors his work in the here and now.

Till Megerle was born in Bayreuth in 1979 and lives and works in Vienna.

Artist’s books have been published in conjunction with the exhibitions.

The exhibition program is conceived by the board of the Secession. 

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To be kind
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