Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson in waterside contemporary
Long ago, and not true anyway
5 September – 26 October 2013
waterside contemporary presents Long ago, and not true anyway, an exhibition that brings together works by Slavs and Tatars, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rabih Mroué, Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson, and Mekhitar Garabedian, who engage in the re-assembling of historical narratives affected by migrations, invasions, economic interactions, time and memory.
In the exhibition, national mythologies meet personal anecdotes, official fact mixes with subjective creation, and an opportunity arises to consider the role of fiction in the constitution of prevailing world order. Migration and exchange go hand in hand with globalisation; in parallel, conflict has led to movement of millions across borders. With surprising speed, communities emerge whose individual heritage has no intrinsic affinity to that of their neighbours’.
If ‘multiculturalism has failed’, such blending of identities, as participated in by the mixed-heritage native, refugee or economic migrant, cannot be thought of as only a matter of individual experience. Instead, the sum total of the unlikely stories is the very foundation of any society’s mythology, and we are today participating in the creation of memory for future generations.
In the course of their itinerant collaboration, Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson have related their work to the places and communities they have encountered. In London, they invited the Ambassador of Iceland to the United Kingdom to help them produce a painting-by-numbers that spreads the message of their on-going campaign and project: Your Country Doesn’t Exist. Highlighting the presumed insecurities of a small nation, they send a seemingly antagonistic message – either a self-annihilation opportunity for the creator, or hostility towards the recipient.
Photo: Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Your Country Doesn´t Exist – Do It Yourself, 2013(detail).
Painting by numbers made in collaboration with the Icelandic Ambassador to UK, Benedikt Jónsson.
2 Clunbury Str, London