Program: Friday, September 20, 2019, 6:30pm -

Turnarounds. Metahaven at e-flux

Friday, September 20, 2019, 6:30pm          e-flux, 311 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002, USA

Turnarounds. Metahaven at e-flux

Metahaven, Turnarounds. Metahaven at e-flux

e-flux is very pleased to present Turnarounds, a solo exhibition by Metahaven at e-flux’s space in Lower Manhattan opening on Friday, September 20 at 6:30pm.

Metahaven returns to New York with a project comprised of their film installation Hometown (2018), a new series of textile pieces, and an essay in e-flux journal.

Hometown focuses its ultra-wide, hypnotic gaze on two cities—Beirut and Kyiv—that merge into a fictional home for the film’s protagonists, Ghina Abboud and Lera Luchenko. Fluorescent, lava-like animations alternate between images of industrial estates and overgrown gardens as Ghina and Lera lyrically describe the town. A caterpillar gets killed, but while mourning the loss, both evade responsibility for the crime. With their monologue in Russian and Arabic colorfully subtitled in English and Ukrainian, they eat ice cream. Their laughter solves puzzles, and there is a sunken city inhabited by adults who forgot what children taught them.

The script of Hometown draws on a genre of Russian children poems called perevortyshi (“turnarounds,” or “twisters”). In perevortyshi, positive statements are provisionally joined with their opposites to the great joy of both narrator and listener. These poems are, in their playfulness, also fundamentally questioning our reliance on verbal statements in order to approach reality. In Sleep walks the street, an essay for e-flux journal no. 102 that will go live when the exhibition opens, Metahaven interrogate our current tendency to aestheticize politics by relying on the cognitive guidance of metaphorical and allegorical construction. Examining figures of speech that normalize not just words but also entire semantic contexts and cognitive patterns, they reference the work of the German-Polish linguist Victor Klemperer (1881–1960) who studied the language of the Nazis. In searching for potential antidotes, Metahaven focus on the work of the Russian poets Alexander Vvedensky (1904–1941) and Daniil Kharms (1905–1942), as well as the contemporary poets Eugene Ostashevsky, Jackie Wang, and Galina Rymbu.

In addition to the film installation and the essay, a new series of digitally created textile pieces is installed throughout the public and private spaces of e-flux’s space on East Broadway. Bearing titles like Mise-en-AnthroposceneSkyrofoamNow You Know You Now, and Salle Pacifique 2020 (in reference to the painter René Daniëls), Metahaven’s recent textile works draw on the thematic and affective tropes they have embraced since their documentary The Sprawl: Propaganda About Propaganda from 2015.

The work of Metahaven consists of filmmaking, writing, and design. Films by Metahaven include The Sprawl: Propaganda About Propaganda (2015), Information Skies (2016), Hometown (2018), and Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) (2018). Recent solo exhibitions include “Version History” at the ICA London (2018), and “Earth” at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2018). Recent group exhibitions include “Ghost:2651” Bangkok (2018), the Sharjah Biennial (2017), and the Gwangju Biennale (2016). Recent publications by Metahaven include PSYOP (2018, edited with Karen Archey), and Digital Tarkovsky (2018).

The exhibition will be on view through November 2, 2019, and there will be a presentation with the artists and guests on Monday, September 23 at 7pm.

Turnarounds is supported by the Mondriaan Fund.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

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