press release

Rosalind Nashashibi - DEEP REDDER
June 27 – September 1, 2019
Opening: Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 7 p.m.

Caring and forms of communal life have been a consistent theme in the oeuvre of Rosalind Nashashibi,who examines them in light of the specific political, social, and historical conditions that shape them. Theprivate meets the political; in interweaving the two, the artist sometimes emphasizes political concerns,as in the filmElectrical Gaza, which earned her a nomination for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2017;private aspects are the focus in other works, like the widely acclaimed filmVivian’s Garden (2017), whichwas commissioned for documenta 14 (2017): a portrait of the lives and relationship of the artists Elisabeth Wild and Vivian Suter, a mother and daughter who live largely in seclusion in the Guatemalanrainforest.

Born in England to parents of Irish and Palestinian descent, the artist does not rely on abstraction andgeneralization to shed light on the complex mechanisms at work in politics of identity and interculturalencounters; probing the biographies of real individuals, her works reflect her gift for empathy and greatrespect for her subjects. She makes films that eschew cohesive narratives in favor of staged scenes andsequences from everyday life arranged in collages that read as a kind of enigmatic visual poetry. Thecoexistence of several parallel plot lines serves to articulate her interest in complex layered realities andforms of social organization ranging from the family to the state.

In her exhibitionDEEP REDDER, Rosalind Nashashibi presents paintings and a new film in two parts, thefruit of a sustained, process-based, and ongoing meditation on social norms of family life. It is animatedby her search for alternatives and a critical revision of the nuclear family model, which, though longobsolete in the lived reality of many people, is still a central political and ideological point of contention.

Both segments of the film are inspired by Ursula Le Guin’s novellaThe Shobies’ Story (1990). Set in thescience fiction and fantasy writer’s sprawling fictional universe, the plot revolves around the experiencesof a multigenerational group testing a novel form of space travel based on nonlinear time. Appearing in the role of the film’s narrator, Nashashibi intertwines the filmic action with the literary source to raisephilosophical and psychological questions concerning interpersonal relationships.

Besides Le Guin’s novella, the artist drew on a second literary source: theI Ching, which she consultedbefore she started shooting, using the response of the Chinese divination manual and book of wisdom to shape the making of the film and generate the two titles. Part one is calledWhere there is a joyous mood,there a comrade will appear to share a glass of wine; part two,The moon is nearly at the full. A teamhorse goes astray. Le Guin’s story acts as a lens through which the film, featuring Nashashibi herself, herchildren, and close friends, reflects on how a group’s sense of community is built and then fracturedwhen their movement is non-sequential and beyond their understanding.

Paintings on which she works in parallel with her films—despite considerable abstraction and formalreduction, they ultimately hew to the representational register—serve the artist as a vehicle of unmediated expression and a format that has room for contemplation, emotion, and shades of sentiment as well as spontaneous creation. The paintings in the exhibition are even more direct equivalents of herown experiences of being in the world, “of standing in two states, with feet and ankles in water and legsdry, of a lamb craning its neck upwards, or a calf with its face hidden from our view and yet lit mymoonlight” (Rosalind Nashashibi).

In addition to her solo projects, artistic collaborations have long been a major strand in Nashashibi’spractice. For the artist’s book to be published in conjunction with the exhibition, she invited a friend, theLithuanian artist Elena Narbutaite, to respond to her pictures with works of her own and engage in a painterly dialogue.

Rosalind Nashashibi was born in Croydon, England, in 1973 and lives and works in London.

The exhibition program is conceived by the board of the Secession.

Curator: Bettina Spörr