Afterimage Vol. 45, No. 6

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From the Issue
Reports

Baltic Triennial 13

May 11–November 18, 2018

Jacquelyn Davis

In an effort to dodge imposed ideologies, possible nationalistic tendencies, and assumptions that are often associated with a biennial which, on a fundamental level, represents and illuminates its site of occurrence, Baltic Triennial 13’s artistic director, London-based curator Vincent Honoré, adopted a different approach with his more flexible thematic creation “Give Up the Ghost.” This 13th edition proved to be uniquely designed in comparison to previous Baltic triennials: this edition occurred not only in Vilnius, Lithuania, but also in Tallinn, Estonia, and Riga, Latvia—at Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Tallinn Art Hall, and Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, respectively. This decision to house events in three locations was, in part, due to the fact that since their independence from Russia’s regime one hundred years ago, the Baltic states have distanced themselves from one another—partially in an effort of self-preservation but also due to suspicion, which often surfaces in postwar climates. Yet, the decision to morph three isolated yet neighboring artistic and cultural milieus into one unified creative outcome was reached in collaboration with Baltic-based curatorial voices Kęstutis Kuizinas, Maria Arusoo, Zane Onckule, and Renāte Prancāne, among others. Additionally, the decision was made that each city and venue should follow different formats—aimed to diversify content, context, and present art—and as a result, what was presented was a chorus of contrasting identities, ranging from fragmented to tenacious. The triennial attempted to push aside traditional constraints often used by default to categorize the structure of similar events, so that this edition would be perceived as more fluid and continually evolving.

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Features

Seeking Permission: On the Photographic Practices of Joan E. Biren (JEB) and Robert Giard

Ariel Goldberg

Stormé DeLarverié sits on a bar stool, fully facing the camera, as if the axis of a compass. Mid-afternoon sun sneaks in from a nearby window and mixes with a round light fixture directly above her head. DeLarverié plants one foot on the base of the stool, the other spreads to the right, on a low windowsill. She drapes a leather trench coat, with strap, over her left leg. A bottle opener keychain the shape of a miniature hammer hangs from form-fitting cargo pants, the belt loops covered by a knit sweater. Natural light catches the veins on her resting hand. A weathered reservation book anchors the shelf before the background of the restaurant goes dark. Stormé wears tinted aviator glasses, through which you can still see her eyes.

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Imagined Reality: A Conversation with Hu Jieming and Hu Weiyi

Ma Jue

Hu Jieming, born in Shanghai in 1957, is an avantgarde artist in the field of digital media and video installation. He combs through the complex relationships of visual culture and history in the post-internet era, and is known for his attempts to deconstruct time and reconstruct historical and contemporary elements of Chinese culture and society. He employs a range of media, including photography, video, and digital interaction technology, to raise questions about the alternation of time, space, history, and memory.

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Exhibition Reviews

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness

Amanda H. Hellman

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
Atlanta, Georgia
September 14–December 8, 2018

South African visual activist Zanele Muholi is known for pairing photographic portraits of South African LGBTQ community members with stories of their experiences, fears, and challenges. The Faces and Phases series (2006–present) captures underrepresented lesbians in their homes and neighborhoods, breaking down the walls that divide them from mainstream society. Muholi sees the subjects as participants, partners that co-create intimate photographs and then use that intimacy to dismantle ignorance. It is the photos’ striking tenderness and familiarity that obscures their true purpose as activism as they shine light on the LGBTQ communities in South Africa.

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Yoshitomo Nara: Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone—Take your time, it won’t be long now

Ryan Holmberg

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film
Tokyo
July 7–August 10, 2018

This review is about Yoshitomo Nara’s photographs. But before I get to them, let me be upfront and say that I have never been a fan of Nara’s work. Not that I don’t find his fat-faced paintings cute or his evil-kid drawings sassy. I would understand their appeal as reproductions ripped out of a teeny bopper magazine and tacked to a bedroom wall—but as museum pieces? I feel similarly about his sculptures. They would make excellent choices as playground equipment or features at a children’s museum. But what claim on cultural exceptionality can the art world have when it installs oversized sad puppies and cherubic heads in its vaunted halls and courtyards?

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Anna Bunting-Branch: Warm Worlds and Otherwise

Ryan Holmberg

Wysing Arts Centre
Cambridgeshire, UK
October 7–December 9, 2018

“Well-come!” So we are greeted by the digital animation Well-come world travellor (2018) at the start of the journey into Anna Bunting-Branch’s Warm Worlds and Otherwise. The outcome of the first Worlds Among Us retreat—a collaboration between Wysing Arts Centre; the Mechatronic Library; FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool; and QUAD, Derby—this exhibition reflects the aim of exploring new technologies’ ability to create new worlds, forcing us to reconsider what we think we know about our own.

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US OR CHAOS

Yoli Terziyska

BPS22
Charleroi, Belgium
September 22, 2018–January 6, 2019

US OR CHAOS is a group exhibition held at BPS22 (previously called the Solvay Provincial Building, abbreviated as BPS22) in Charleroi, Belgium—a museum committed to showing international artwork that examines pressing social issues. This exhibit’s title comes from a statement a Spanish riot police officer gave to Democracia, a Madrid-based artist collective. The collective’s artworks are featured in the museum, among the works of twelve other contemporary artists. The exhibition focuses on two themes. It demonstrates the violence at the root of domestic and international politics. It also speaks of the paradox of modern democracy, which is in part responsible for that tension.

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Portfolio

Portfolio: 4 3 2 CRY: Fracking in Northern Colorado

Kathy T. Hettinga

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Current Issue, Vol. 45, no. 5

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