Curated by Panos Fourtoulakis and Titus Nouwens, ‘The way in’ brings together new and existing works by Leah Clements, Christian Friedrich, Aaron Ratajczyk and Iris Touliatou. Video, sound and sculptural installations respond to the architecture of Haus N, proposing an existential exploration of being.
The starting point of this exhibition stems from the recent past – a time when our collective experience of time itself felt different, when the relationships between ourselves and our bodies, our surroundings and others were renegotiated, and when the exploration of interiority, embodied presence, and the desire to connect felt like shared concerns.
We have been working closely with each of the invited artists to develop a scenography that welcomes the viewer into an interior space of memory, feeling and desire. The presented installations make public and palpable elements that are highly intimate and intangible. It is through a specific organisation of space and time that the works move between introversion and entanglement, to convey a sense of containment and opening up.
The continuous tension between the (interior) self and the (exterior) world, notions of control and overpowering, pleasure and pain, finds a bodily address in Christian Friedrich’s silent film ‘Untitled,’ 2010-11. Alternating shots of a billowing American flag and a man in a cage being repeatedly electro-shocked create unlikely correspondences with the rhythmic insertion of all kinds of other imagery: a jetting fountain, a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, jellyfish, birds, toes and foot fetishism and much more. As the film’s fifteen minutes accumulate and the editing accelerates, images appear to superimpose, creating their own cryptic logic. What has seemed at first a statement about abuse of power, may be revealed as a formal structure of endlessly suspended oppositions. The more time passes, the more is revealed, the more is suggested, the more you seek to make sense of it and, finally, the less you know.
Leah Clements explores altered experiences of space and time through a light and sound sequence titled ‘Reprise/Reprieve’. The work has grown out of Clements’ text-based video installation ‘The Siren of the Deep’ presented at Eastside Projects earlier this year, which takes its name from a term used by diving communities to describe an overwhelming pull to stay on the bottom of the ocean in a state of awe and never come back up. Developed through a more experiential and somatic approach, ‘Reprise/Reprieve’ uses deep bass sound, warm lights and an installation reminiscent of an abandoned medical experiment. The sequence causes a gradual build up and sudden release of tension at set intervals in the gallery.
Aaron Ratajczyk’s installation is composed of two new works, ‘Home Ressemblances,’ a tent-like structure made of semi-transparent plastic, and ‘Remote Ressemblances,’ a floor made of flattened cardboard boxes connected to speakers through contact mics. Found on the streets of Athens and at local convenience stores, these materials served as packaging of products from around the world. Viewers are invited to enter Ratajczyk’s open yet contained environment, generating sounds as they walk through. Associating ‘Home Ressemblances’ with ‘Remote Ressemblances,’ Ratajczyk explores notions of presence and its mediation, isolation and connection, intimacy and belonging. In this interactive work, togetherness becomes both intimate and alienating.
Iris Touliatou’s contribution, ‘What we had expected and for how long,’ is a new work developed through a relational exchange between herself and us (the curators). While being abroad, the artist entrusted us with the keys of her house/studio so we could extract items of our choosing. As a result, Haus N is punctuated with objects from the artist’s home – shelves and drawers (support structures meant to hold personal items), a printer, a fan, all of her bedlinen and her 2016-piece, ‘Exhausted Lovers’ – a carefully contained breakup, comprised of ink and paper extracts distilled from printed matter and kept in separate perspex tubes. Through continuous negotiations and the act of making public, the work engages proximity and distance, agency and co-dependence, control and letting go.
Access: The space is up two flights of stairs and is not wheelchair accessible. Leah Clements has made a short film of her work Reprise/Reprieve, for anyone who is unable to attend the exhibition ‘The way in’ for disability, economic, or other access reasons. Please find the video, alongside a version with audio descriptions, and a version with captions describing the audio at haus-n.com For other access info at the show itself contact [email protected]