Rich Mix Café Gallery 18 – 29 September 2012
The exhibition In Paradisum was held at Rich Mix café gallery in London between 18 and 29 September 2012. It was a group show comprising sixteen artist’s work, selected from an open call to respond to the title In Paradisum (Into Paradise), which itself was in response to the new London Requiem composed by Benjamin Till for The Space. Curator Philippa Edwards comments “The title evoked a broad cultural mix of inspiration behind the works which incorporated secular and religious themes, including multi-faith and spiritual interpretations of the phrase.”
ARTISTS AND LIST OF WORKS
Bob Aldous and Narayani L Guibarra
How do you Explain Paradise to a Goldfish?
This short, silent film depicting waterfalls is played through a goldfish bowl, onto a gilded fish on the wall behind. It is the first collaboration between Bob Aldous and Narayani L Guibarra.
The artists invite the viewer to answer the question posed by the title of this piece. The various tones of light and shade from the film find their way through the bowl onto the golden fish on the wall, so that at times the gilded fish can clearly be seen and at other times it is masked by shadow cast by the bowl and plinth. These effects draw the viewer in, to wonder what it is they are actually seeing and to provoke questions about Paradise.
Video, glass goldfish bowl, 2 plinths, golden fish
Sir Arnold of Wesker
Quotation (see above)
Benjamin Till Composer of the London Requiem wanted to include this quotation by Sir Arnold of Wesker: his interpretation of Paradise. It marks a paradigm shift in western culture, where the search for Paradise now takes place in this life rather than after death.
Incarnation I and Incarnation II
These two paintings are part of a series of work inspired by mixed religious iconography. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity all stem from a belief in something bigger than ourselves. Their underlying belief is that an omnipresent and omnipotent being has a purpose for us that will not be fulfilled until after death.
Oil on Canvas
Mairi Fraser Bugg
NANTE YIYE (go well)
This triptych explores Ghanaian funeral rites, and depicts mourners celebrating the life of an elderly cocoa farmer. The work is inspired by the images of the photographer and filmmaker Thierry Secretum, together with the artist’s own experiences of living and working in Ghana.
In Ghana coffins are often shaped to reflect work or other interests of the deceased, and can be very elaborate, appropriately this man’s coffin is shaped like a cocoa pod. The collages also include printed representation of Adinkra hand printed cloth which is frequently worn to funerals in Ghana.
Printing ink and acrylic paint
The artist is interested in how humans make their way through society. Jostling and politicking: the posturing, the pomposity, the hubris, the hypocrisy. He brings the viewers attention to the ways in which we attempt to keep a terrifying universe at bay through noble works and high thoughts. He explains “There is a strong sense of the ridiculous in my work; how else to deal rationally with infinity?”
Digital print on paper
This work explores the rich tradition of symbolic meaning in Christian iconography around staircase and door, and what follows, in western Culture. Here the artist dwells on aspects of the unknown, hidden behind the doors of paradise; human curiosity to explore; and the paradox of the impossibility of knowing what paradise looks like.
Free standing paper rolls, reflective acetate
A Place to Die
Each photograph in this series represents a location where self destruction would take place, highlighted by a red arrow pointing to the exact place and accompanied by abbreviated text, i.e. E.F. - Night - KPO which translates into a briefly detailed description of the act itself: E.F. = (how) exhaust fumes, (when) Night, and location.
The work was created to help highlight and increase understanding of mental health, being a dreadfully real and true reflection of a troubled mind that was once as close to the actual act as the person standing in front of it will be. Deliberate in their uncompromising lack of composition and condition, each photograph has been executed purely for their raw purpose to communicate the troubling message of suicide.
Photographs photograph taken with a common disposable camera
The Ghosts of My Past
This work explores the concept of lost souls who haven’t received forgiveness. Vanishing into an infinite abyss of memories they have not yet found peace. It is inspired by the death of the artist’s father and uncle three years ago.
Nail Varnish, marker and watercolour on paper
Maria M. Kheirkhah
In Farsi Kamoosh has three perceptible meanings, Unlit, Dead and Silent. This video documents a performative installation by the artist in 2002. With the lighting and extinguishing of the candles the artist is making reference to the persistence of memory. In the performance she deploys the visual poetry of Persian calligraphy and denies the meaning of the written word, refusing to forget and be silent. Suggesting that, as memories wander into consciousness, the past becomes present through memory.
Video (Duration: Approximately 5 minutes)
In Loving Memory
The artist’s visual work mainly focuses on sense of loss, death, and childhood. This project involves the combination of two different media: super8 film and stills photography. It revolves around the representation of death and the aesthetic of monumental cemeteries of European countries in the nineteenth century, when cemeteries became a new and distinct area, removed from churches and from the heart of the city.
The film is an ensemble of imaginary characters who tell their story, and eventually how they died, from the beyond. Like a darker Spoon River Anthology by American Poet Edgar Lee Masters, each story is told as a Victorian poem-like epitaph.
Video (Duration: Approximately 11 minutes)
This sculpture is made of pristine plastic knives, forks and spoons woven into a wire mesh frame. Each time the work is installed it must be remade on site. The reference to angel’s wings is a literal reference to paradise, but these wings are constructed from everyday disposable items that could be considered waste in another setting or configuration.
What is not shown here is a series of photographs wherein the artist invited people to insert themselves between the wings, suggesting an elevation to paradise on earth. The artist often delves into world of myths, legends and the inner nature of people for inspiration. She describes her work as “swinging from myth to the ultimate reality”.
Plastic cutlery and wire mesh
The Ghost House Series
These three photographs represent a series of works shot at several abandoned houses in Ireland, whose last occupants left between 10 and thirty years previously. The photographs are unstaged and taken with long exposure in natural light. They capture traces of the previous inhabitants lives and aspirations, and of the disillusions and hardships that made them leave their homeland.
The artist works explore subjectivity and inner conflict, alienation and delusions. Investigating through photography and video how an individual’s mental state influences their perception of their experiences and surroundings, and the representation of space as psychologically and historically charged.
Disappearing Act: Marthe Callet (née Bailleul) 1896-1993
This piece represents the culmination of a twelve year portrait documentation of the artist’s French grandmother. The large original group of analogue photographs in both black and white and colour tracked the gradual disintegration of her mind and body, and are a visual record of their relationship over that period. This final arrangement, made in 1994, depicts her both dead and alive, and was shown the year after she died, in the exhibition, 'Whose Looking at the Family?' at the Barbican Art Centre.
Passport to Pulotu
The artist’s practice creates spaces where the past and the present inhabit the now. Western experience of Polynesia was shaped by 18th century notions of paradise, perceived as their ‘Island Paradise’, inhabited by the free-and-easy Dusky Maiden and the naive Noble Savage. This was replaced when the missionaries were sent in force, bringing with them brimstone and fire to save the savage soul from everlasting life in hell.
Rosanna says “It seems we were not fit for heaven with our tattooed bodies and heathen ways, impacting our own long held beliefs and spirituality. This image is telling a story through my body and its cultural markings, my passport to Polutu… we don’t have a heaven or a hell but we have Hawaiiki and further to the west Pulotu, your tatau guarantees you a place there. Here I am contemplating one of the meanings of my Ta Moko on the back of my calf. I carry the great goddess Hine Nui Te Po, she welcomes the departing soul into the underworld of Hawaiiki the last resting place or house that we live in, she also put an end to the demi god Maui and his quest for mortality for mankind, blood was spilled as Maui entered her in his failed attempt to gain everlasting life as the great goddess Hine Nui Te Po crushed him between her thighs.”
Framed AO print
Credits: Photography: Kerry Brown
Tatatau/Ta Moko practitioners:
Raperape/Puhoro (Buttocks and calf): Te Rangitu Netana
Malu (Thighs)): Su’a Petalo and Paulo Suluape
Parade for Carl Crack
Parade for Carl Crack is a memorial installation for the Berlin musician Carl Crack and signifies the artist's farewell to the musician and friend. Born in Swaziland in 1971 and died at age 30 in Berlin in 2001, Karl Böhm aka Carl Crack became world famous as a founding member and MC of the band Atari Teenage Riot.
The artist has created a monument for the musician, who was buried in an anonymous grave. The form refers to the jazz funerals in New Orleans which are characterised by a certain scenario: friends come to the family's house and bear the coffin of the deceased. The parade is headed by a marching band, followed by the closest relatives, then by the so-called second line, comprising friends and those who spontaneously join the parade, carrying decorated umbrellas to protect themselves against the sun.
Umbrellas covered with different materials (imitation diamonds, feathers, sequins, fringes, silver marker)
This sound installation is composed primarily from the Polish version of the Requiem Æternam prayer. Re-recorded in the Polish section of South Bristol Cemetery & Crematorium at 3am, with the speaker facing down into the earth. There is also a section of a Radio 4 interview (Material World, broadcast Thursday 30/8/01) spoken by the man on whose grave the speaker was resting.
The artist was interested in recontextualising these different sources, and introducing amplified sound to a location which rarely hears anything above hushed voices. Brought up a Catholic but no longer a believer, he remains deeply attached to certain rituals.
He explains “This piece explores the extent to which locations contain – or lack – distinct sonic identities; there is nothing innately graveyard-like about the sound of a graveyard. There was a paradoxically transgressive aspect to the recording process; though I was going into a cemetery to broadcast institutionally sanctioned prayers, I was forced to skulk around in the shadows”.
Sound (Duration: 7 minutes and 8 seconds)