press release

Tate Modern's Project Space continues its series of international collaborations with Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear. This exhibition explores the tension between image, narrative and the viewer's perception. It brings together works by seven international artists: Herman Asselberghs, Manon de Boer, Sherif El-Azma, Patricia Esquivias, Lars Laumann, Maha Maamoun, and Ján Mančuška.

Since its birth, cinema has made a paradoxical demand on its viewers: to consciously suspend their disbelief. This remains a preoccupation for contemporary artists who have grown up exposed to an intense flow of still and moving images. The film and video works in this exhibition expose the fracture between what we are shown on screen and what we see. Borrowing from various cinematic conventions, as well as formats including lecture, documentary, rehearsal and found footage, they examine the limits of our imagination and credulity. With a variety of approaches, their references move between the black boxes of movie theatres and the 'black mirrors' of our TV screens, computers and smart phones. The exhibition blurs the boundary between depiction and deception and questions the logic of storytelling. Does the illusive charm of the moving image undermine its authority as a visual record? And what role does the viewer's imagination play in constructing a narrative?

The works on display include Manon de Boer's film Dissonant (2010), which depicts a woman listening to a melody and performing an accompanying dance once the music has finished. The work explores the materiality of film, playing on audience memory and how senses—in this case sound and vision—supplement each other. It will also present Herman Asselberghs's recent film Speech Act (2011), which charts the offences of mainstream cinema and homogenised pop culture in relation to the avant-garde film tradition.

Works by Ján Mančuška include the short video Double (2009), in which the border between act and its re-enactment becomes confusingly blurred, whilst Patricia Esquivias's enquiry into the process of mythologizing and storytelling, Folklore II (2008) juxtaposes biographical facts from the lives of two Spanish 'icons', King Philippe II and celebrity pop singer Julio Iglesias. Based on an obscure online conspiracy theory, Lars Laumann's visual essay Morrissey Foretelling the Death of Diana (2006) delves into a frenetic decoding of Morrissey and The Smiths' 1986 album The Queen is Dead alongside a montage of films clips and pop culture references.

The exhibition also includes Sherif El-Azma's video installation Powerchord Skateboard (2006), which uses sequences of images and TV aesthetics to explore the relationship between personal and collective memory. Maha Maamoun's Night Visitor: the Night of Counting the Years (2011) is comprised of found YouTube footage relating to the storming of the State Security headquarters in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, whilst another work by Maha Maamoun 2026 (2010) references Chris Marker's iconic film La Jetée (1962).

The exhibition is curated by Kasia Redzisz, Tate Modern and Aleya Hamza, an independent curator based in Cairo. It is a collaboration between Tate Modern and Contemporary Image Collective Cairo. The curatorial exchange is supported by DCMS World Collections Programme with the collaboration of Gasworks. The Project Space series has been made possible with the generous support of Catherine Petitgas.

Tate Modern Project Space, Level 1 Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

Project Space:
Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear
Kuratoren: Kasia Redzisz, Aleya Hamza

Künstler: Herman Asselberghs, Manon de Boer, Sherif El Azma, Patricia Esquivias, Lars Laumann, Maha Maamoun, Jan Mancuska