Sadie Benning and Liam Gillick at Air de Paris in Paris

Mind’s Eye

Sadie Benning started making experimental videos as a teenager in 1988. The low-fi black and white videos explored aspects of identity, language and memory. Improvising with materials that were immediately available at the time, Benning constructed moving images from found objects, drawings, text, performance and personally shot footage. The form, content and poetics explored in these earlier video works has expanded over the past two decades, as the artist continues to wrestle with evolving, political, conceptual and material questions.

More recently, Benning has produced wall-mounted works that trouble the categories of painting, drawing and sculpture. These works begin with a tracing on a single panel of wood. The component parts of the image are cut-out, layers of aqua-resin are applied to these forms, which are then sanded and molded, and finally fit back together to form the final composition. When assembled, the gaps between the pieces becomes a conceptual space of personal projection: «There is a space between the panels that is the third space I’m talking about – the place where you have to picture something else. You have to imagine the line that is missing. It’s just air, and shadow.»

The objects in Mind’s Eye were produced with the intention of exploring this generative liminal space between language and experience. Each of the works in the exhibition has a single word title: Night, Park, Thoughts. While these words may literally describe some part of the images contained within the work, they also highlight the associative nature of these compositions and the viewer’s own hermeneutic impulse. Unlike many of Benning’s previous exhibitions, Mind’s Eye was produced without a specific narrative in mind. What emerged in the production of the work is a series of poetic connections that explore the profound limits of the utility of language to describe identity and represent individual experience.

The Red Wood Pigeon Meets Some Meetings

This spring Liam Gillick spent some time in a pub in Limerick as his contribution to EVA International, the Irish Biennial. He had organized a spoken word film festival at Mother Mac’s bar on High Street. To get things moving, people in the pub listened as he told the story of a special film from start to finish. The film was Palombella Rossa directed and starring Nanni Moretti. Every scene was described in detail while people sat and drank, came and went and then took over with their own telling of a movie.

For Air de Paris a series of graphic works will outline this telling of a film in a bar. These will be combined with a series of photographs the artist has taken over the last years of people having meetings in an art context.

If we want to understand tendencies in art, we have to look at the structures that underscore the sharing of ideas. This is especially true when we consider discursive processes to be the base of self-conscious art practice. It is necessary to find a way to describe, map, and analogize the processes that have actually been taking place under the surface of recent models of curating and artistic practice. I’m trying for a moment to get away from anecdotal, local, and geographical relationships to artistic activity and away from “special event” consciousness. At the same time, I want to look at echoes in the culture that might provide a clue to parallel productive techniques.

Liam Gillick (b.1964) deploys multiple forms to expose the new ideological control systems that emerged at the beginning of the 1990s. He has developed a number of key narratives that often form the engine for a body of work. McNamara (1992 onwards) Erasmus is Late & Ibuka! (1995 onwards) Discussion Island/Big Conference Center (1997 onwards) and Construction of One (2005 onwards). Gillick’s work exposes the dysfunctional aspects of a modernist legacy in terms of abstraction and architecture when framed within a globalized, neo-liberal consensus. His work extends into structural rethinking of the exhibition as a form. In
addition he has produced a number of short films since the late 2000s which address the construction of the creative persona in light of the enduring mutability of the contemporary artist as a cultural figure. Margin Time (2012) The Heavenly Lagoon (2013) and Hamilton: A Film by Liam Gillick (2014). The book Industry
and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820 was published by Columbia University Press in March 2016.

Air de Paris – 32, rue Louise Weiss, 75013 Paris- France
Opening Saturday 17 September, 6-8pm
17 September – 29 October, 2016