Rah Eleh: Spoiled Milk

Rah Eleh: Spoiled Milk

Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC)

October 26, 2023
Rah Eleh
Spoiled Milk
September 30–December 10, 2023
Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC)
143 Simpson Avenue
Bowmanville Ontario L1C 2H9
Hours: Tuesday–Thursday 10am–9pm,
Friday–Sunday 10am–4pm

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The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC) is pleased to announce our final exhibition for the 2023 season. We present Spoiled Milk, a solo exhibition featuring new work from the video, digital, and performance artist Rah Eleh

Milk—or our existence in proximity with milk—presupposes a lexicon of aphoristic language that applies to many situations: to skim, to condense, to homogenize, to lactate, to express, to curdle, to culture, to separate. Across digital platforms, however, milk has rapidly soured into a symbol of white supremacy as proponents of Aryanism misrepresent research into the genetic correlation between lactose tolerance and race. 

In her expanded practice, Eleh’s experimental work blends philosophical ideas, parody, and allegory to highlight the boundary between gender, national, and ethnic identity. With humor and great conceptual vigor, she employs an array of materials, new media, visual cues, and storytelling techniques to prompt reflection on our virtual spaces and asymmetries of power.

Spoiled Milk brings together a collection of installations by the artist. Its assemblies expand upon ethnic futurist discourse to navigate broad themes of migration, alienation, violence, and radicalism in the digital space. Found footage uncovers common microaggressions captured on newsreels and social media feeds. Instances of racially motivated attacks are quantified and visually interpreted into dynamic sculptural forms. Celestial Throne, which made its world debut in Venice at the Palazzo Mora during the Venice Biennale, sees characters confront power imbalances in a parody of the classic TV game show Jeopardy!. In the Loft Gallery, Eleh’s multimedia project DissemiNation involves the use of data visualization, light installation and video to shed light on state violence and propaganda and reveals larger complexities about liminality, nation-building, and belonging. 

The exhibition reflects upon historical identity markers, interrogates hierarchical relationships, and proposes new futures beyond our present landscapes of thought. It allows pleasure, laughter, and pain to coexist as we confront uncomfortable truths and significant asymmetries of power within our world. Visitors are invited to question whether identity politics are divisive and if they can spoil our social interactions. 

Spoiled Milk will culminate in a public panel discussion between key artists, activists and scholars who contribute to the contemporary discourse of counterfuturism. This event will take place in early 2024. 

Spoiled Milk is curated by Megan Kammerer and organized by the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Partners in Art.

About the artist
Rah Eleh is a video, digital and performance artist and a PhD candidate at the die Angewandte (University of Applied Arts) in Vienna, Austria. Eleh’s work has exhibited extensively at spaces including: Venice Biennale (Palazzo Mora), The National Museum (Oslo, Norway),  Museum London, Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown, Massachusetts), Miami Art Basel, Vögele Kultur Zentrum (Pfäffikon, Switzerland), SOMA Berlin (Germany), VBKÖ (Vienna, Austria), Nuit Blanche (Toronto), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece). She has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Long-list 2023 Sobey Art Award, Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and SSHRC Fellowship.

For press enquiries and additional public programming information, please contact: Megan Kammerer, Curator of Exhibitions, curator [​at​] vac.ca.

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Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC)
October 26, 2023

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