press release

Ghosts are in great demand these days. Not only have they been haunting theoretical discourse, most famously in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, but numerous dissertations and publications from literary and film scholars as well as scholars in the fields of postcolonial, queer, and gender studies are considering the social and cultural meaning of specters and phantasms from multiple perspectives. Within the realm of art ghosts have also been experiencing a renaissance, appearing frequently in artworks as well as exhibition titles, articles, and publications.

And yet the mythological or literary figure of the ghost is by no means a novelty. At least since antiquity ghosts have been invoked as symbols for the unsettling resurgence of past events into the present, and since the Enlightenment they have been brought into play within a variety of disciplines as a catalyst for critical reflection on social events.

All this led to the idea of bringing together artists and writers whose works seem to conjure up ghosts in one way or another. “New Ghost Entertainment–Entitled” poses the question of whether an engagement with mediumism, spiritualism, or ghost stories can serve as a contemporary approach toward inventing—or reinventing—artistic and political forms of expression, and whether the metaphor of the ghost can add a useful dimension to critical engagement with social and political phenomena.

The medium of film—which, with its ability to dematerialize and create doubles for the body, itself has a ghostly quality—is central to the project. A film program curated by Madeleine Bernstorff presents films in a new occult mood, evoking a world in which specters are symptoms of unresolved relationships, or of disorder and injustice. Regarding the many attempts to represent the nonrepresentable, the program does not concern questions of authenticity or false representations of past realities, but rather how history became the battlefield of representation constituted by the current symbolic, economic, and political realities.

A variety of specters have made an appearance at the beginning of the twenty-first century in Western industrial nations, and they often seem to go hand in hand. To name but a few, these include the specters of national security, oil shortages, the revival of nationalism, the new right, and an increasingly neoconservative stance regarding international politics. At the same time, phantasms of military and geopolitical power determine the current political debate. While giving a full account of such complex problems is not the goal of the project, these frightening social developments provide the context for “New Ghost Entertainment–Entitled.”

Artists: David Askevold, Stephan Dillemuth, Paul Gellman, Frauke Gust, Judith Hopf, Annette Kelm, Alice Könitz, Cristóbal Lehyt, Julie Lequin, Marriage (James Tsang/Math Bass), Reza Monahan, Arthur Ou, Katrin Pesch, Fredrik Strid, Stephanie Taylor, and Michaela Wünsch

Film program: Films by David Askevold and Shohei Imamura as part of the exhibition

Films by Fredrick Marx, Ken Jacobs, and Joyce Wieland and Karl Heinz Martin with music selection by Julian Ghöte, to be screened at the Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver October 14, 2006, 7:30pm

A magazine will be published especially for this exhibition. It will feature contributions by Madeleine Bernstorff, Walead Beshty, Sladja Blazan, CHEAP and Vaginal Davis, Doris Chon, Marie Jager, Alan Klima, Molly McGarry, Michael Rashkow, Josef Strau, Odila Triebel, Jan Tumlir, Niels Werber, Michaela Wünsch, and the artists in the show.

Concept: Katrin Pesch “New Ghost Entertainment–Entitled” is a project produced in cooperation with Kunsthaus Dresden and funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany. The exhibition will be on view at Kunsthaus Dresden, Germany, from December 9, 2006 – February 11, 2007.

only in german

New Ghost Entertainment–Entitled

mit David Askevold, Stephan Dillemuth, Paul Gellman, Frauke Gust, Judith Hopf, Annette Kelm, Alice Könitz, Cristobal Lehyt, Julie Lequin, Marriage (James Tsang / Math Bass), Reza Monahan, Arthur Ou, Katrin Pesch, Fredrik Strid, Stephanie Taylor, Michaela Wünsch, Shohei Imamura, Fredrick Marx, Ken Jacobs, Joyce Wieland, Karl Heinz Martin, Julian Ghöte ...