press release

Pine's Eye February 29–May 9, 2020

Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh are proud to present Pine’s Eye, an exhibition exploring the relationship between people and nature with Firelei Báez, Beau Dick, Laurent Grasso, Alan Hunt, Torsten Lauschmann, Ana Mendieta, Kevin Mooney, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Taryn Simon, Johanna Unzueta, Lois Weinberger and Haegue Yang.

Daring us to break the legacy of modernism, Pine’s Eye is led by indigenous cultures—including new works and a performance by Kwakwaka’wakw artists—spirits, folk tales, magic and stories of the forest. Looking for ancient figures, ideas and energies that have survived colonialism, industrialisation and disenchantment, it seeks forms of resistance vital to us in these times of environmental crisis.

Firelei Báez draws upon African-diasporic mythologies, folklore and global political movements to create a visual language of resistance and healing that can open historical narratives up to new future possibilities. Through his masks, Beau Dick (1955–2017) a Chief of the Kwakwaka’wakw draws on the customs and mythical beings that offer a critical perspective on the unchecked greed of consumer society. Hereditary Chief Alan Hunt and the Kwakwaka’wakw community present 16 new masks that will be worn in a ceremony called Atlakim ("Dance of the Forest Spirits") in Edinburgh, the first of its kind outside of Canada. Laurent Grasso inserts mysterious phenomenon into Renaissance-style images to disrupt our Euro-centric idea of progress, in another work challenging the limits of objective representation in relation to the energies of Aboriginal territories. Torsten Lauschmann considers ritual in the modern era, using different technologies to create mechanical and digital hybrids, automatons and sound machines. Drawings by Ana Mendieta (1948–85) reflect the potent symbols she used to explore ancient customs and unite her body with the Earth. Kevin Mooney reinterprets Ireland’s colonial past and its historically stifled cultural heritage by imagining encounters between Irish folk traditions and those of the Caribbean. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz makes documentary films that centre on the despoiled ecology of her native Puerto Rico, exploring the relationships between plants, people, magic and ecology. Taryn Simon’s Paperwork and the Will of Capital remakes the compositions of flower arrangements that appear in photographs documenting the signing of treaties, trade agreements and diplomatic accords. Johanna Unzueta references defiant Mayan weaving techniques through a large site-specific mural and includes sculptural objects that explore the traces of tactility in labour. Lois Weinberger sees the garden as the antithesis of nature—orderly, designed, made on a human scale—and here presents photos and drawings that reflect his work with ruderals (plants growing in wastelands), and installs a luminous invasion of tree fungi. Haegue Yang presents a newly conceived ensemble of sculptures from The Intermediates series on top of a nonagon shaped floor graphic with a new sound element synthesising her own voice, blending ideas of modernity, estrangement, pagan traditions and folk cultures to unsettle familiar hierarchies.

Pine’s Eye is supported by Creative Scotland, with additional support from Canada Council for the Arts, The Henry Moore Institute and the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom.