SPRING 2013: May 4–August 4, 2013
Shimon Attie: Metro.PAL.IS.
Throughout his 20-year career, Brooklyn-based artist Shimon Attie has consistently focused on the formative aspects of communities, including history, memory, and place. Metro.PAL.IS. is an immersive multiple-channel installation consisting of eight 65-inch flatscreen monitors mounted vertically and arranged in a freestanding circle. The characters that appear alone on each screen were cast from the Palestinian and Israeli communities in New York City. Dressed in outfits that reflect varied lifestyles and professions, each of the performers reads from a document created by Attie that combines sections of the Israeli Declaration of Independence (1948) and the Palestinian Declaration of Independence (1988). This piece reveals a surprisingly significant overlap between the two original texts. In this way, Metro.PAL.IS. serves to re-configure the complex, intensely problematic Middle East conflict by foregrounding the participants’ shared identity as New Yorkers. The installation was created by Attie with photographer Vale Bruck. The editing and post-production work was completed during Attie’s residency in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio Program for visiting artists (2010).
Metro.PAL.IS. was commissioned by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
This survey exhibition will provide the most comprehensive account of Paul Sietsema’s body of work to date. Focusing on his production over the last half-decade, the exhibition will foreground Figure 3 (2008) and two 2012 films—Telegraph and Encre chine—as well as a new work, Chinese Box, created through the support of a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award (2010-2011). This new work will extend the artist’s persistent interests in the ambiguities of authorship and in culturally and temporally specific aesthetics and modes of work. He investigates these interests through the careful appropriation of historical subjects and working methods (and the effects produced by the adoption of those themes and procedures), usually working in multimedia suites or series that take shape slowly over two to five years. At the core of all of Sietsema’s work is a belief that through his labor as an artist he comes to know, on a material and metaphorical level, distant passages in history, which he then interweaves with artifacts from the present to produce an “exploded” model of history’s progress. In turn, Sietsema’s flattening out of history makes the subjects of his work available to the viewer in unexpected ways, suggesting new stories and connections over time.
The exhibition was organized by the Wexner Center and curated by Christopher Bedford. This exhibition and residency are made possible at the Wexner Center with support from the Teiger Foundation and the Nimoy Foundation.