Ragnar Kjartansson with the National | London, U.K.
Strange Days: Memories of the Future
Camille Henrot, Ed Atkins, Pipilotti Rist, Cheng Ran, Kahlil Joseph, Klara Lidén, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Wong Ping, Oliver Laric, Wu Tsang, Daria Martin, Cally Spooner, Ryan Trecartin, Laure Prouvost, Mounira Al Solh, John Akomfrah, Anri Sala, Maha Maamoun, Hassan Kahan, Jonathans de Andrade, Ragnar Kjartansson with the National
The Store X, 180 The Strand, London WC2R 1EA
October 2nd – December 9th, 2018
“Strange Days: Memories of the Future,” is an immersive, polyphonic show curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory.
The exhibition will present the work of twenty-one acclaimed artists and filmmakers who have shown video works at the New Museum in its ten years on the Bowery. Bringing together an extraordinary group of works in video by today’s leading artists, “Strange Days” will consider how images shape memories while anticipating visions of what the future may hold. Weaving together reportage and lyricism, the works on view blend images and sound into dreamlike compositions.
Featured works in the exhibition will include Kahlil Joseph’s Fly Paper (2017), a deeply personal portrait of black cultural life in Harlem; John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea (2015), an epic three-screen meditation on the ocean as an environmental, cultural, and historical force; Camille Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue (2013), in which a rapid succession and layering of images tells the story of creation; and Pipilotti Rist’s video and sound installation 4th Floor To Mildness (2016), a work that featured prominently in the artist’s celebrated 2016 New Museum exhibition.
Co-presented by The Store X and the New Museum in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory, “Strange Days: Memories of the Future” brings together video and film installations by twenty-one of today’s most radical image makers, all of whom have exhibited at the New Museum in the last ten years. Enigmatic and oracular, the works on view blend visuals and sound into polyphonic, dreamlike compositions that consider the power and fragility of images as the raw material of memory, reverie, and visions the future.
The works in “Strange Days” emphasize a fractured sense of time: history collides with the present, and future speculations are vexed by a distant past. Departing from the format of the film essay and the use of cinema verité, a number of artists adopt unusual forms of lyrical reportage and sentimental documentary. Others take on a more confessional tone, as they speculate, with both optimism and unease, about language and visibility, desires and fears, and origins and destinies.
An uncanny sense of estrangement permeates the works on view, conjuring a kind of technological sublime that is both hypnotic and ominous. In many of the videos in the exhibition, technology is both a subject and medium—perhaps even a talisman—in peculiar parables that expand definitions of identity, vulnerability, and power. Throughout the works on view, memory and hope fold together as artists employ testimony and metaphor to form a new kind of nostalgic futurism, however provisional and fluid.
While conceived as a compendium of the New Museum exhibition program, “Strange Days” also exemplifies The Store X and The Vinyl Factory’s dedication to new experiments in the field of the audio-visual arts and the New Museum’s commitment to exploring fresh perspectives on the evolving relationships that tie together new media and technologies, politics and society. Emerging from all the works on view is a preoccupation with the future of images and with the faults and fissures that can make memories, premonitions, and even everyday encounters as fleeting and impalpable as waking dreams.
About the artist
Ragnar Kjartansson draws on the entire arc of art in his performative practice. The history of film, music, theatre, visual culture and literature find their way into his video installations, durational performances, drawing and painting. Pretending and staging become key tools in the artist’s attempt to convey sincere emotion and offer a genuine experience to the audience.
Kjartansson (b. 1976) lives and works in Reykjavík. The artist has had solo exhibitions at the Reykjavík Art Museum, the Barbican Centre, London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park, Washington D.C., the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the New Museum, New York, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and the BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna. Kjartansson participated in The Encyclopedic Palace at the Venice Biennale in 2013, Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2014, and he represented Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The artist is the recipient of the 2015 Artes Mundi’s Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, and Performa’s 2011 Malcolm McLaren Award.