“History’s goal and ambition is not to exalt but to annihilate what has in reality taken place”
- Pierre Nora
The notion of a singular official history is perpetuated constantly across the world in our politics, our education, our museums and our monuments. What historians such as Pierre Nora have made clear however is that there are multiple conflicting and interrelating memories held by different groups and individuals and that their relationship with any kind of ‘official memory’ is fraught and complex. This exhibition brings together four artists who consider the methods and motivations for our collective remembering and forgetting in relation to political and territorial issues around the world.
Presenting two simultaneous channels of video projection ‘The Histories of Maraş/Varosha’ by Nasan Tur draws out the complexities of the shared yet conflicting memories of a single event and the ongoing problems associated in a divided country like Cyprus. For the international citizens that visit Cyprus, the side of the border on which the visitor arrives determines the version of history they are presented with by tour guides when visiting the same town on the ‘no man’s land’ border. Since the Turkish invasion in 1974, the deserted quarter of Maras/Varosha has stood as a microcosm example for other complex situations around the world where multiple conflicting historical accounts impossibly record one people, event, time, place or individual.
In ‘Tunisian Americans’ Nadia Kaabi-Linke reflects on the tensions surrounding past events in her native Tunisia. Bottling a sample of the soil that surrounds 400 US military graves in Tunisia, she has placed them each within the grid like boxes of 4 old type-cases and labelled them with their corresponding social security number. In recording and ordering these uncomfortable memories she questions our relationship to physical objects as an aid to remembering and conversely to forgetting. In cognitive terms, to maintain a memory is to constantly revisit it in our minds. When we instil an object with that memory we no longer need to retain the thought ourselves, the object or monument remembers it for us. As Michael Lavine writes: ‘The monument tells us that we remember by losing touch with what is remembered. Monuments resist memory as much as celebrate it’.
David Birkin presents a new installation of press portraits of Cold War era political, military and religious leaders. Each bearing their newspaper editor’s crop marks and annotations, they are resized to a conventional movie poster format. These political players form a backdrop to the declassified transcript of a 1972 NATO gaming simulation, repurposed as a commentary for the West Germany v. USSR European Cup final which took place that same year. Converging public and private channels of dissemination — the mainstream media and the covert intelligence community — these reimagined relics from a pre-Photoshop / pre-computer modelling age speak to both the canny construction of ideological agendas and the theatricality of popular politics.
Manuela Ribadeneira is fascinated by peculiarities that surround issues of border and territory throughout human history. These issues are inextricably linked to conquest and conflict of different kinds, each of which create individual memories of traumatic events and the shared group memories of the opposing sides. There is a tension here between the multiple and the singular. Many memories versus one official history which is subsequently presented by the dominant group and typically justifies their actions and ideologies. Ribadeneira will present new works that build on her past practice but engage more directly with these ideas.
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Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b. 1978, Tunis) is a graduate of University of Fine Arts, Tunis and the Sorbonne, Paris. Solo exhibitions include No One Harms Me, Experimenter, Kolkata (2013), Black is the New White, Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai (2012) and Tatort/Crime Scene, Gallery Christian Hosp, Berlin (2010). Group shows include Conflicted Memory, Alan Cristea Gallery, London (2013), Abstract Generation: Now in Print, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), Tireless Refrain, Nam June Paik Art Center, Gyeonggido, Seoul (2013), Kochi – Muziris Bienniale 2012, KochiMuziri, India (2012), 25 ans de créativité arabe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2012), 201111111s, LEAP Berlin, Berlin (2011), The Unexpected Guest, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2011), Chkoun Ahna — Carthage, Contemporary, the National Museum of Carthage, Tunisia (2011), Languages of Revolution, Kleine Humboldt Galerie, Berlin (2011), Social States: Baptiste Coelho and Nadia KaabiLinke, Pump House Gallery, London (2011), Lines of Control, Herbert F Johnson Museum, Ithaca, New York (2011), El arte contemporáneo en el Magreb: dos orillas, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid (2011), The Future of a Promise, 54th Venice Biennial, Venice (2011), Based in Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011), Different Abstractions, Green Cardamom, London (2011), Aftermath, 25th Alexandria Biennial, Alexandria, Egypt (2009) and Provisions for the Future, 9th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah (2009). In 2011 the artist was awarded the Abraaj Capital Art Prize.
Nasan Tur (b. 1974, Germany) is a graduate of the Art Academy Städelschule, Frankfurt and the Academy of Arts and Design, Offenbach, Germany. Recent solo exhibitions include At your own____., Blain|Southern, Berlin (2013), Video of the month, Video Forum – Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Germany (2013), Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2011), Galeri Mana, Istanbul (2011), Der unbekannte Ritter, Installation in public space, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria (2011), Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2009), Collective Notice, Yapi Kredi Art Gallery, Istanbul (2009), Goethe Institut Belgrade (2009), TANAS, Berlin (2008), Lie Low, Project RIM, Taller Publico, Mexico-City (2006) and Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, Germany (2006). Group shows include 13th Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul (2013), 10 Jahre Lentos, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Austria (2013), Zizhiqu – Aut–nomous Regions, Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2013), Rethinking Modernity, Istanbul Modern, Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul (2013), Future II, Frankfurter Kunstverein (2013), Farbe bekennen, Marta Museum, Herford, Germany (2013), Tell Me Whom You Haunt, Blain|Southern, London (2013), Im Netzwerk der Moderne, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany (2012), A Gathering, Macdeonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2012), Cities and Things That Matter, Lombard Freid Projects, New York (2011), Berliner Zimmer, National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest, Romania (2011), Tactics of Invisibility, Arter, Istanbul (2011), Journeys With No Return, A Foundation, London (2010), Tactics of Invisibility, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2010), Playing the City, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2009), 28th Biennale of Graphic Arts Ljubljana, Center of Graphic Arts, Gallery Skuc, Ljubljana (2009), 6th Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2008), 10th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2007) and The State of the World, Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisbon (2007).
Selected recent solo exhibitions for Manuela Ribadeneira (b. 1966, Quito) include Objects of Certitude, Objects of Doubt, Casa Triângulo, Sao Paulo (2012), Change is around the corner, dpm gallery, Guayaquil, Ecuador (2009), Cortes y Recortes, Galería Vértice, Lima (2009) and To be born in a stable does not make you a horse [o de la patria por nuestra voluntad], Teorética, San José (2008). Group shows include Deferred Archive, CIFO – Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami (2013), Solo Presentation (curated by Jose Roca), Pinta NY Projects, New York (2013), Ante un Fusilamiento, curated by Inti Guerrero, TEOR/éTica, San José (2013), Nouvelle Vagues, Artesur, Collective Fictions, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013), A House of Leaves (curated by Vincent Honoré), David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2012), 8ªBienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2011), Paradas em Movimento, Centro Cultural São Paulo (2011), Pasado Imperfecto ASAB ,Bogotá, Lugar a Dudas, Cali, Centro Fundación Telefónica, Lima (2010), At your service (curated by Cylena Simonds), David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2009), Tatton Park Biennale, Cheshire (2008), The (S) Files 007, curated by Rodolfo Kronﬂe/ Elvis Fuentes, Museo del Barrio, New York (2007), Territorios, Latin American Pavillion, 52nd Venice Art Biennale (2007), Piedra y palabra suelta no tienen vuelta, intervention in a public space, Architecture Biennale, Quito (2006), Forest Art Path, intervention in a public space, Darmstadt, Germany (2006), Tres nudos trescientos tajos Brito Cardoso Ribadeneira, Galería Animal, Santiago (2006), Space Protocol, curated by L. Garrett Parnu, Rael Artel Project Space, Estonia (2005), Cloud and Vision: William Blake in Lambeth (curated by Danielle Arnaud), Museum of Garden History, London (2005), Inﬁltrate (curated by Louise Garrett), The Substation, Singapore (2004), Thirtysecondslivequake, curated by Cecilia Canziani, Galerie Jacky Strenz, Berlin (2004), Deﬁnitively Provisional (curated by Canziani/Haugaard), Whitechapel Project Space, London (2004) and 8th Havana Biennale (2003).
David Birkin (b. 1977, London) is a graduate of Oxford University and the Slade School of Fine Art. Selected exhibitions include Whitney Museum ISP Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (forthcoming), Embedded, Tin Shed Gallery, Goldsmiths College, London (forthcoming), Expo 1: New York, MoMA PS1 Rockaway Dome, New York (2013), La Linfa del Sapere di Aristotele, Gervasuti Foundation, Venice (2013), Some Fifty Miles of Concrete Pavement, Art Amalgamated, New York (2013), Artist in Residence Exhibition, Four Corners, London (2013), International Artist’s Fellowship, NARS Foundation, Brooklyn (2013), Fresh Faced & Wild Eyed, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2012), VLA Art & Law Residency Exhibition, Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn (2012), Photographers Transcending the Print, Photo50, London (2012), The World in London (North Korean Refugee), The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2012), Mirror Gaze, Solyanka State Gallery, Moscow (2011), New Sensations, Saatchi Gallery, London (2011), Everlast (live performance), ICA, London (2011), Moments of Reprieve, Tallinn Kunstihoone, Estonia (2011), Aktualnosci UK: Photography in Britain, Photomonth, Krakow (2010), East Wing IX, Courtauld Institute of Art (2010), Exposure, National Media Museum / James Hyman Gallery (2010), Starting with a Photograph, Saatchi Gallery / Michael Hoppen Gallery, London (2009), Photocinema, Format ’09 Photography Festival, Derby (2009), Natural Wonders, Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow (2009), Form, Galerie Nuke, Paris (2008), The Body Beyond Death, Trolley Books, London and Hold, Paradise Row, London (2008). The artist was a recipient of the Sovereign Art Prize (Barbican, London), Celeste Art Prize (Museo Centrale Montemartini, Rome), a National Media Museum bursary and Arts Council (England) film funding. He recently finished a residency at Yaddo and is currently on the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.