The British Council’s Visual Arts team are delighted to support artists from the UK who are presenting at documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany (10 June – 17 September).
documenta takes places every five years in Kassel, with exhibitions, installations and events happening across the city and this year it has extended its programme to Athens. Adam Szymczyk is Artistic Director of documenta 14.
The artists from the UK that we have supported include Akinbode Akinbiyi, Rasheed Araeen, Ross Birrell, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Theo Eshetu, Douglas Gordon, David Harding, Susan Hiller, Lala Meredith Vula and Rosalind Nashashibi.
1 Akinbiyi Akinbode / BABALAWO OTHELLO – OSOGBO AND YORUBA SPIRITUALITY // Photography // Athens and Kassel
The work „Babalawo Othello” is a series of black and white photographies which deals with spirituality in three geographic, cultural contexts: Yoruba, Germanic and Greek (specfically,Lagos/Osogbo, Kassel/Berlin and Athens).
2 Rasheed Araeen / FOOD FOR THOUGHT (Athens), THE READING ROOM (Kassel) // Performance / Installation
For documenta 14, Rasheed Araeen is developing a project that features two conceptually interconnected works, one for Kassel and one for Athens. Their underlying concept is rooted in the everyday experience, that is, the productivity of human activity and creativity of everyday life: the cooking and eating of food; the looking at things and their perception and then forming them into various kinds of expression; the reading and thinking, eventually finding its expressed form in writing and verbal expression, etc. All these activities involve and engage with not only the conditions of human life but also all life on earth.
3 Ross Birrell / CRIOLLO (working title) // Film&Installation, Long Distance Ride // Athens and Kassel
Criollo is a project by Birrell which takes place across three continents - South America, North America, Europe - and unfolds in three parts – an installation, a film and a large-scale participatory project (Athens-Kassel Ride 2017).
4 Lucien Castaing-Taylor / SOMNILOQUIES, CANIBA & HOMO RISIBLIS (ATHENS & KASSEL) // Film // Athens and Kassel
Somniloquies – new film work Somniloquies is a descent into the dream-world of our unconscious referring to the subjects of nocturnal speculation of the world’s most garrulous sleep-talker, Dion McGregor, a gay American songwriter.
Caniba – new film work A film about Issei Sagawa, who was a 32 year-old Japanese doctoral student at the Sorbonne who raped his fellow classmate, a Dutch woman named René Hartevelt, and ate specific parts of her body.
Homo Risibilis – new film work A site-specific video installation projected onto the walls of the various tiers of the rotunda of Kassel’ s Fridericianum, a site that briefly served as Germany’ s first Parliamentary building in the early nineteenth century. Each tier will contain a seamless semi-circular portrait of people laughing.
5 Theo Eshetu / DEADPAN // Installation, Film // Athens and Kassel
Theo Eshetu is working on a new film installation with partitioned drapes, becoming the cinematic screen for a multi-site video piece.
For decades, a 6.6 m high drape featuring 5 masks representing the 5 continents decorated the fasade of the Ethnological Museum of Berlin, located in Dahlem. It was casually cut into 6 pieces by the workmen on site. The partitioned drapes have been procured by artist Theo Eshetu, to become the cinematic screen for a new multi-site video piece that aims to rethink the idea of a World Image. Theo Eshetu wants to remount the drapes as two triptychs, each comprising three of the drape’ s pieces: one in Athens and one in Kassel. Onto these canvasses, a densely montaged video of 10 min each will be projected. The videos will be made by filming a series of real-life portraits and 3D prints of busts, onto which moving images are projected. By projecting the video onto the drape as a cinematic screen, an intricate sequence of superimposed imagery will result: images projected onto faces, which in turn are projected onto the fragmented masks of the physical canvas.
6 Douglas Gordon / I HAD NOWHERE TO GO Existing video documentation, 2016 (16:9 2K) // Kassel
Based on Jonas Mekas’s published diaries of the same title, Douglas Gordon’s feature film takes a radical approach to adapting Mekas’s life story to the space of cinema, offering just ten minutes’ worth of images in the predominantly sound-based work. Sharing at once a very personal yet increasingly universal story of exile, Mekas tells of his experiences in a Nazi forced labour camp, his five years in a displaced persons camp and his first years living as a young Lithuanian immigrant in Brooklyn.
7 David Harding / DESIRE LINES PATH POEM // Sculpture & Wall Painting // Athens and Kassel
Some ‘rough’ pathways are made by people usually diagonally, sometimes meandering and not straight, across a space when architects/planners have tried to control movement and made a paved footpath that is often at a right angle. These paths made by people are ‘desire lines’.
For his project, David Harding will find possible, appropriate desire line locations close to, in or around the d14 venue(s) in Athens and Kassel. In these places, he will be embedding words into new, locally produced paving slabs/flagstones in, and typical of, Kassel and Athens.
The poem which is going to be read on the slabs is based on some words from a Samuel Beckett love poem, Cascando (1963):
If you do not love me, I shall not be loved.
If I do not love you, I shall not love.
8 Lala Meredith Vula / BLOOD MEMORY, HAYSTACKS // Photography // Athens and Kassel
In Athens, Lala will show a selection from an extraordinary series documenting the reconciliation of Blood Feuds, again, in Lala’s ancestral homelands. One project led to another as Lala was in Albania to photograph Haystacks when she learned of the blood feud reconciliations and decided to witness with her camera. Entitled Blood Memory, these works depict the successful process of reconciliation initiated in the early 1990s from within the Albanian community – showing historic gatherings of people and simple but powerful gestures of forgiving.
In Kassel, Lala will show a sizeable selection from her longest ongoing series, Haystacks, which depict these rural (sculptural and practical) forms throughout Albania and Kosovo and in certain parts of Serbia as these forms do not carry passports and are in fact common to politically divided parts of the region.
9 Rosalind Nashashibi / ELISABETH WILD AND VIVIAN SUTER // Film // Athens and Kassel
Rosalind Nashashibi is shooting a new film about the artist Elisabeth Wild, her daughter Vivian Suter, and the extraordinary space they home and work together in Guatemala. Rosalind was visiting Guatemala in November 2015, stayed with Elisabeth and Vivian and started taking some footage during her visit. She went back to shoot in Guatemala in November 2016 and is now entering the postproduction of the film.
10 Susan Hiller / LAST SILENT MOVIE (2007/8), LOST AND FOUND (2016) // Film // Athens and Kassel
Last Silent Movie – single-chain projection with sound, 24 etchings. Hiller orchestrates voices of the last speakers of extinct or endangered languages. Subtitles translate their utterances while the screen remains black. The accompanying suite of 24 etchings is based on oscilloscope traces of the voices heard on the soundtrack.
Lost and Found – film. Hiller’s film features an audio collage of voices speaking in 23 different languages, including Aramaic, Comanche, Livonian and other extinct or endangered idioms. Many of the anecdotes, songs, arguments, memories, and conversations that the voices relay revolve around the theme of language itself. Translations of these utterances appear in the form of subtitles, which provide an entry point into the narrators’ diverse cultural circumstances. A constantly shifting oscilloscopic line gives visual form to the work’s soundtrack, suggesting the poignant idea that individuals separated by time, geography, and worldview remain linked by the physical experience of sound as it resonates through the human body during verbal communication.