Void, Old City Factory, Patrick Street, Derry, BT48 7EL, Ireland
7 September-25 October
From the Press Release
Over his 30-year career, Wallinger has represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and was awarded the Turner Prize in 2007 for his installation, State Britain. Wallinger’s sculpture Ecce Homo was the first project chosen for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 1999. For his exhibition in Void, Derry, Wallinger will show a number of paintings from an ongoing series of Self Portraits. Also included is his feature length video installation, Construction Site (2012) and Shadow Walker, another recent video work. The works demonstrate Wallinger’s ability as an interlocutor between the everyday and the intangible, with an eye for the overlooked, and an astute philosophy addressing relationships between the micro and macro/ politics and art.
Each body of work presents the viewer with a conundrum questioning how we categorise and understand the world we live in, offering observations, not answers. Wallinger encourages the viewer to look for the sublime in our contemporary existence, drawing upon a dichotomy between nature and culture he instigates a self-reflexive pause amidst a modern spectacle of chaos. Exhibiting in Derry, at a time when a city attempts to ‘rewrite its history’, publicly through a cultural agenda, Wallinger’s approach to art-making and its critique of identity and self becomes particularly apt.
Construction Site (2011) projected video installation:
Construction Site shows a team of scaffolders erecting and then dismantling a structure set on a beach. Against the backdrop of the pebbled shore and the sea, the structure rises until the top level is aligned with the horizon. Wallinger draws attention to the construction of structures that are usually disregarded, yet are undeniably pivotal, viewing construction becomes a double entendre for looking at how the viewer constructs. Wallinger begins to frame a scenario between profound abstraction and simplistic reality. Questions of framing and context are put under observation and the work of the labourer whose regular activity builds the physical structures of our society, is here turned into a balletic performance where function leads to a moment of magic. For, at the zenith of their performance, the three unknown labourers step onto the top of the structure and, hovering on the surface of the horizon and land, momentarily become like gods astride the earth, before they return to their labours and dismantle the structure, leaving the beach and the view empty once more.
Shadow Walker (2011) Video installation for monitor:
Wallinger records himself walking down Shaftesbury Avenue, London. The three-minute, looped video shows the shadow of the artist proceeding down the pavement, his body morphed and transfigured due to the angle of the camera referencing a disembodied artist or fragmented identity of the individual when placed in the ‘public’. This exercise allows the artist to experience the city in the tradition of Baudelaire’s flaneur or absorb the freedom of anonymity expressed by Robert Walser in his prose.
Self Portraits (2007 - ongoing), acrylic on canvas: