I See a Darkness is a group show presenting the video and audio works of seven international artists. The cinema experience, in a museum setting, occupies a space whose perception it erases, blacking out its boundaries, specific architectural features, and the usual way in which it relates with things and people. Darkness is the necessary condition for the projected image to appear, and hence for vision, yet this image remains fleeting, insubstantial, and can hardly be captured. In this perspective, the image can be read as a metaphor of a state of mind pervaded by melancholy, yearning, reminiscence – all of which are recurring emotions in the works on display.
The title is borrowed from the work of João Onofre, which stages the musical performance of two children, who are asked to perform the song of the same title by Will Oldham, a nostalgic ballad about a restless soul. The music and melancholy pair also plays the leading role in the monumental installation by Ragnar Kjartansson, The End, a work comprising 5 projections that immerse spectators in the sublime landscape of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Another landscape, and a different ending, can be seen in the film by Marine Hugonnier, The Last Tour, a poetic ballooning trip among the summits of the Matterhorn, set in an imaginary future in which tourist sites have become inaccessible. The nature/feeling connection also recurs in the dreamlike Deer by Victor Alimpiev, which focuses on the erotic tension in a separated couple who are caught in burning desire. The feeling of melancholy in the work by Cerith Wyn Evans instead stems from a historical event, the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini on the Ostia beach. Here, the painful memory fades into the uncertain light of the seaside twilight portrayed by the Welsh artist. Reality and fiction blend in Laure Prouvost’s work, which starts from the alleged disappearance of her grandfather in the dark meanders of a tunnel to think up a sentimental story in which she reminisces about places and objects, and real or imagined experiences.
A special project was developed by Meris Angioletti, who is presenting an audio and light installation, Stanzas, produced by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo for the 2011 Venice Biennale. The artist recalls a mythical figure in art history, Aby Warburg, to whom she dedicates her work, in which she breaks down the film image to its basic elements – light and sound -, in the tradition of experimental cinema, creating a parallel between the space of the film set and the space of the mind, between film projection and the mechanisms of the mind.
Artists in the show: Ragnar Kjartansson, Joao Onofre, Marine Hugonnier, Laure Prouvost, Cerith Wyn Evans, Victor Alimpiev, Meris Angioletti.
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