Common Ground presents works from four local and London based artists which question our relationship with history, the urban landscape and popular culture. Exploring our positions in the contexts in which we live and work, the show asks: do we collude with or critique what we encounter in our everyday environments?
The artists in the exhibition make works that implicate themselves in an established narrative or language, and attempt to stage an interruption or counter official interpretations and received views.
Constantine Gras takes the transport structures and systems that define urban spaces, and interrogates their histories to make visible the divisive effects that these everyday parts of the landscape have brought to bear on the city. For Common Ground his new video “Home, not Road” departs from the official knowledge of the archive and planning office, and focuses on the situation of the last man standing in the fight against the development of the Westway in 1967. Using the space of the house cinematically, the work tells the very human story of a man losing his family home in the face of large scale city planning and modernization.
Dee Harding uses the processes of editing and layering filmed or found video footage, and her work reflects on the pervasive use of rhetoric and authoritative language embedded within televisual culture. In Common Ground, ‘Language of the unheard’ explores the position of Scratch Video. A 1980s underground art movement in Britain, scratch was characterized by resampling and layering broadcast television footage, and its critique of the entertainment industry. Harding’s piece considers the possibilities for reappropriating television media for radical ends without its subsequent reabsorption into mainstream culture.
Olga Koroleva’s work investigates cinematic processes, and attempts to deconstruct their conventions by replacing the work carried out by technology with human equivalents. Taking the notion of the loop as a site for investigation, her work “Behind Closed Doors” consists of female voice giving a monologue about the tower block where we are led to believe she lives. The content seems relevant to the housing estate where the exhibition is situated, and tackles ethical subjects common to filmmaking such as our moral codes and the judgement of others. However, meaning is foreclosed by the actor repeating the script over and over again. Through this unnatural rehearsal, the work of mechanical reproduction is transferred to the more visceral process of human labour, bringing to the surface the stutters, failures and alienation of the human body.
Alex Ressel is a video artist whose practice explores the ways in which language constructs us as subjects within the world. Moving Forward (2011) is about the language of Human Resources Departments, job interviews, and self-evaluation, and foregrounds the inauthenticity of neo-management culture. The piece questions the validity of assessment in the workplace. Based on asking the individual to speak about themselves and their intentions, these performance analysis tools seem at cross-purposes with management rhetoric and its attempts to change the personality traits and ambitions of employees.
Exhibition open 20 January - 18 March 2012 Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12 - 6pm. Click here for visitor information.
For further information on related events please visit the events page
Constantine Gras will be working with Latymer Projects to faciliate a community mapping project. We will be working with local residents to remap the local area using historical stories, contemporary issues and lived experience.
We welcome people from all walks of life to participate in the project. Please email info at group-work.org if you would like to become involved.
Latymer Projects and Common Ground is possible with the generous support of ACAVA and The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council