press release

Chisenhale Gallery, London and Picture This, Bristol have commissioned a new film by Rosalind Nashashibi set on a cargo ship sailing from Southern Italy to Sweden via Portugal, England and Ireland.

Nashashibi came to wider public attention in 2003 when she won the Beck’s Future’s award at the ICA in London with an exhibition comprising four films shot on 16mm. She has recently been selected as one of the artists representing Scotland at this year’s forthcoming Venice Biennale.

In its singular exploration of life on board, Nashashibi’s latest film can be understood as a genre piece presenting a contemporary version of seafaring whose precedents lie in historical literature, painting and films. The work stems from the artist’s interest in these depictions of ocean life and voyages. Her influences include, among others, Thomas Pynchon’s novel Mason & Dixon – charting the story of two Englishmen travelling to America in the 17th Century to plot the state boundary line between Maryland and Pennsylvania, Jean Vigo's luminous film L'Atalante (1934), and Marcel Broodthaers’ film A Voyage on the North Sea (1974).

Nashashibi sees the ship’s company as the ultimate closed community. Operating under a strictly adhered to hierarchy headed by the absolute authority of the ship’s master, the community’s off-shore condition gives it the semblance of a floating independent state. The film’s rhythm develops from the intensity and claustrophobia inside the ship, counterbalanced by the empty expanse of the ocean and extreme weather conditions. Three different modes of capturing the ship and its crew can be identified: a close and direct observation of the dynamics of individuals in a confined environment; a rich and dream-like rendering of the light and movement of the voyage; and a heavily characterised framing of the ship as animated machine and protagonist.

Picture This in collaboration with Chisenhale Gallery are commissioning, producing and touring this work.

An In Profile monographic DVD will also be published on the artist.

Rosalind Nashashibi was born in 1973 and lives and works in London. She studied at Glasgow School of Art, the California Institute of the Arts and Sheffield Hallam University.

Forthcoming and Recent Solo Exhibitions include: 2007, Scotland & Venice, 52nd Venice Biennale; Statements, Art Basel; 2006, Harris Liebermann, New York; 2005, Counter Gallery, London; and Dorrotya Gallery, Budapest; 2004, Over In, Kunsthalle, Basel; 2003, Five Film, SOFA Gallery, Art and Industry Biennial, Christchurch, New Zealand; Hreash House, Lightbox, Tate Britain, London; Songs for home and economy, CCA, Glasgow and Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; 2001, Humaniora, Visions for the Future V, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and Open Day, Transmission Gallery Basement, Glasgow

The realisation of this work was made possible in part by the American Center Foundation and Grimaldi Line. The project has also received funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Thank you to the Master and Crew on the Grimaldi vessel Gran Bretagna.

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Rosalind Nashashibi