Fall/Winter 2007-08 Exhibitions

Fall/Winter 2007-08 Exhibitions

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (Spalding House)

August 31, 2007

Fall/Winter 2007-08 Exhibitions at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

 Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence
 September 1 – November 25, 2007

Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence, brings together 12 international artists–Christian Boltanski, Jim Campbell, Michel Delacroix, Laurent Grasso, Jeppe Hein, William Kentridge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Teresa Margolles, Oscar Muñoz, Julie Nord, Rosângela Rennó, and Regina Silveira–who use ephemeral means in their work such as fog, reflection, shadows, and vapors. The exhibition title refers to 18th- and 19th-century entertainments created by “magic lanterns” and rear-screen shadow projections. These precursors of the modern film projector were used to stage dancing specters and other frightening theatrical effects for their audiences. The exhibition draws on this rich theatrical tradition to reframe questions of absence and loss, death and the afterlife around contemporary issues.

The shadow–literally, the absence of light–represents something that is beyond the object yet inseparable from it. In many of the works included in Phantasmagoria, shadows are used to allude to death, the obscure, and the unnamable, and to construct allegories of loss and disappearance. In several of these pieces, the artists evoke performances of shadow theater, as in the work by South African artist William Kentridge, and in French artist Christian Boltanski’s shadows from cut-tin puppets, recalling imagery from the carnival as well as figurines used to celebrate the Mexican Day of the Dead.

Mist, breath, and fog are often associated with mystery; in their double status as perceptible yet almost nonexistent phenomena, they suggest evanescence or absence. In Brazilian artist Rosângela Rennós arresting installation Experiencing Cinema, fog is employed as a curtain onto which family photos are projected, addressing the fleeting nature of memories and the images that attempt to record them. Throughout the installations presented in the exhibition, artists’ use of shadows and/or actual fog and mist evokes the alluring enigma and magic of Phantasmagoria.
Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with a text by exhibition curator José Roca of the Luis Ángel Arango Library, Bogotá, Colombia.
Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence is a traveling exhibition co-organized by iCI (Independent Curators International), New York, and the Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia, and circulated by iCI. The guest curator for the exhibition is José Roca. The exhibition, tour, and catalogue are made possible, in part, by the iCI Exhibition Partners and the iCI independents. The presentation at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu is made possible in part by in-kind support for the exhibition in Honolulu has been provided by Horizon Lines, LLC, Terisol, Inc., and Sony Hawaii.

Satashi Ohno: Prism Violet
September 1 – November 25, 2007

The Contemporary Museum presents the first solo museum exhibition of Japanese artist, Satoshi Ohno (born 1980). Known for his paintings and drawings, Ohno often presents his works as an installation incorporating found objects and natural materials.

Elements of nature are prominent in Ohno’s work. He grew up in Gifu Prefecture and moved to Tokyo to study at Tokyo Zokei University. During the seven years he lived in Tokyo, Ohno made infrequent forays outside the city into natural settings that made him conscious of the different physical and emotional reactions we experience in each environment. “I felt as if I were melting into nature and that my footing on the ground gave me a sensation linked to an inner feeling that I did not experience in the city I realized that my footing on concrete was absolutely devoid of those feelings I had in nature.” Images of cedar trees recur in Ohno’s paintings and drawings, further symbolizing the artist’s desire to be connected to nature. For Ohno the images of the trees became a kind of self-portraiture that transformed into more literal self-portraits in other works in which his head and long, cascading hair evoke the shape of the trees. The centerpieces of Ohnos new installation are two towering mountain forms made of carpet over wooden structures. The artist says the mountains make reference to the volcanoes in Hawai’i, his way of paying tribute to the landscape of the place in which he created this exhibition.

The inspiration for Ohno’s TCM installation, Prism Violet, came from a simple observation: the attraction of insects to light in the darkness of night. Its an instinctive, compulsive behavior that in consequence may perish from heat or become the victims of waiting predators that gather near light sources. Ohno notes that humans are also drawn to light — specifically to the light refractive qualities of prisms and the sparkle of diamonds, which in their man-made faceted forms are like prisms. Prisms bend and separate light into color spectrums, and Ohno sees viewers’ experience of his installations functioning in a similar way. As people move in and through his environments they see and experience things from different perspectives. The experience is dynamic, ever changing, as positions and relationships to objects change. Ohno wants viewers to sense physical and emotional shifts as they circulate among and within his works, just as he experienced the effects of time spent in the urban confines of Tokyo streets or the rustic openness of forest paths.
Satoshi Ohno: Prism Violet was organized by The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, and curated by Associate Director/Chief Curator James Jensen. The exhibition is endorsed by the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu.

On the Beach: Photographs by Richard Misrach
December 15, 2007 – March 2, 2008

Richard Misrach, renowned color photographer of the desert, has turned his eye and his camera to water. In the past five years, Misrach has been working on a series of pictures of beaches, the ocean, sunbathers, and swimmers, shot from above. Dramatically scaled, with some being as large as 6 x 10 feet, the photographs envelop the viewer with a strangely disorienting view. The viewer is confronted with details of the people in the pictures, but is also made to contemplate the inconsequential place of humankind on the vast landscape of the earth’s beaches and waters. Stirred by the events of September 11, 2001, Misrach’s title On the Beach references Nevil Shute’s Cold War novel about nuclear holocaust.

A large-format artist’s book, replete with lush reproductions of the photographs, will
accompany the exhibition.
On the Beach: Photographs by Richard Misrach was initiated by the Art Institute of Chicago. The presentation of the exhibition at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, is made possible in part by Allure Waikiki, and by in-kind support provided by Horizon Lines, LLC.

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, is the only Hawai’i museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art. Exciting and provocative exhibitions and educational programs are presented in two distinctive Hawai’i venues: the primary campus at the intimate and historic 4-acre Cooke-Spalding house and gardens in residential Makiki Heights, and the innovative First Hawaiian Center in downtown Honolulu.

The Contemporary Museum
2411 Makiki Heights Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822

Tuesday through Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday noon-4pm
Free to the public on the third Thursday of each month.
Closed Mondays and Major Holidays.
Information: (808) 526-1322 / www.tcmhi.org
24 hour recorded message: (808) 526-0232

Pualana Lemelle, Public Relations Officer
The Contemporary Museum
(808) 237-5235 OFFICE
(808) 536-5973 FAX
Image captions from left to right:

Rosângela Rennó, Experiencing Cinema, detail, 2004
DVD, fog machine, photographic projection on smoke wall
Dimensions variable
Courtesy Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo

Satoshi Ohno, Prism, 2007
oil, watercolor, ink on canvas mounted on board
62 5/8 x 71 1/4 inches
Private collection, courtesy Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
photo by Shigeo Nutou, image Copyright Satoshi Ohno

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The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (Spalding House)
August 31, 2007

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