To many Canadians the title of this exhibition will bring to mind David Suzuki’s longstanding science and nature television series of a similar name. However, in the context of this art exhibition the title is meant to summon up the words and images created by Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius in his epic poem De rerum natura. Its purpose was to explain Epicurean philosophy to Roman audiences in the 1st century BC.
In keeping with Lucretius' clinamen principle, the exhibition On the Nature of Things is organized with a multi-directional and non-linear curatorial approach that highlights individual artistic practices through a close reading of specific works. Rather than choose one specific theme or medium to pursue, the exhibition introduces a number of subjects (or avenues) to explore. The artists in this exhibition share an interest in returning to strikingly Modernist forms and structures. Sampling from a wide range of sources as diverse as advertising, found photographs, driftwood and modernist art, these artists employ surrealist wit to repurpose clichéd forms from our everyday urban environment and popular culture into extra-ordinary aesthetic tropes that challenge a stable understanding of both art and our modernity.
‘On the Nature of Things’ is a major exhibition and 120pp publication that features the work of acclaimed and emerging artists from Canada and Europe and addresses landscape and the natural environment for which British Columbia is so well known. As the Curator Patrik Anderson outlines in the press release, the show addresses this thematic with a highly distinctive approach; “The artists in this exhibition share an interest in framing this concern with the natural world within strikingly Modernist forms and structures…”
|Type of Research:||Show/Exhibition|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
Sarah Dobai exhibited 'Nettlecombe', a film produced by herself and Ioanna Karavela. This fixed-frame work depicts a landscaped garden whose stillness is broken by the wind that plays across it. As the work itself reveals, the wind in 'Nettlecombe' is achieved thorough an orchestrated performance of wind machines and ropes in which the trees and bushes in the garden are animated like puppets within a constructed set.
In creating and then undoing an illusion of the wind as a natural phenomenon this new film shares common ground with the aims of Structural film-makers of the 1970's.
'Nettlecombe' questions whether you have to suspend your disbelief to become involved in the psychologically and dramatically charged qualities of this landscape.
In this 16mm single screen fixed-frame projection, a landscaped garden in Somerset becomes the setting for an orchestrated performance with cinematic wind effects. The piece, which is named after the estate where it was shot, is a much about betraying the illusion of the wind being natural as it is about creating a convincing atmospheric approach. In the film the wind becomes an image of time and thus of the medium of film itself.
SARAH DOBAI: BIOGRAPHY
Sarah Dobai works with photography, film and video, she has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and America. Recent exhibitions include On the Nature of Things, Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada (2011), A Fire Is Set in His Masters House, Chapter Arts, Cardiff (2011), Theatres of the Real, Antwerp FotoMuseum (2009), Darkside 2, Winterthur FotoMusuem (2009), Studio/ Location Photographs, Works| Projects (2009), Sarah Dobai; Photographs and a Film, Galerie Zurcher, Paris (2008), Dispari Dispari, Reggio Emilia (2008) Innocence and Experience, Gimpel Fils, London (2007) and Sarah Dobai, Artists’ Space, New York (2003). In 2006 Kettles Yard, Cambridge presented a major solo show of selected photographs and a specially commissioned two screen video projection ‘Model 280’.
In the mid 1990‘s Sarah Dobai completed an MFA at the University of British Columbia after Canada after which she established her practice with a consciousness of international debates around photography and the moving image. From 2004-2006 she was awarded a Residency at Delfina Studio Trust, London and in 2008 she was made a Visual Arts Laurete by the Centre International des Recollets, Paris. Her work is featured in Charlotte Cotton's ‘The Photograph as Contemporary Art’ Thames & Hudson, and in the second edition of Michel Poivert’s’ ‘La Photographie Contemporaine’, Flammarion Presse 2010. She lives and works in London.
RESEARCH STATEMENT: My work with photography, video and film combines studio-based and on location approaches to reflect on the everyday and its relationship with the media of photography and film. Whilst my work with the still and moving image have been wide-ranging, the work has seen the development of prevailing themes and methodologies predicated around the dynamics of space, place and the human subject as understood through our own intimate experience and through the images of collective experiences represented on TV, in the cinema and in literature. Recent research has led to the production of a number of film and video works, Short Story Piece, Model 280 and Nettlecombe which are distinctive for the way that they both engage in and actively defy the conventions of mainstream illusionistic and narrative cinema.
The recent series Studio/ Location Photographs focusses on the image of the shopping mall and how its concern with commodity and consumption effects the way the space functions and how people behave there. The series juxtaposes photographs of un-peopled sites shot in malls, with images of actor/models taken in the studio. In the studio the models are pictured in a set whose construction intentionally echoes the architectural qualities of the urban spaces photographed. The demeanour of the models in the studio photographs move between the enacted and un-posed, drawing parallels between people’s uneasy relation to public space in everyday life and how a model finds ‘a way to be’ in the theatrical context of the photo-shoot.
‘Studio/ Location Photographs’ continues my on-going use of photography and film to consider artifice as a condition of everyday life. I am currently developing a new film which plays narrative or psychological readings against the exposure and recognition of the conditions of the production of the works themselves.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Studio/ Location Photographs, Works|Projects, Bristol, UK
Sarah Dobai: Photographies et film, Zurcher Gallery, Paris, France
Sarah Dobai; Phototographs & Filmworks, Kettles Yard, Cambridge, UK
Short Story Piece. 1000 000mph, London. UK. (New projection and bookwork)
What we talk about when we talk about love, Galerie Zurcher, Paris, France
Two on a Party, ArtLab, Imperial College, London, UK
On the Nature of Things, with R. Graham, S. Oxsannen & Jacques de la Villegle, Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada
Splitting in Two, Gimpel Fils, London
Darkside II - Photographic Power & Violence, Disease & Death Photographed, curated by Ur Stahel, Fotomuseum Winterthur
Limited, The Wharf Road Project, London, UK
Innocence & Experience, Gimpel Fils, London, UK
75 Years of Collecting: Portrait of a Citizen. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver.
LOOP, International exhibition of Video and film, Barcelona, Spain
Richard Billingham, Sarah Dobai, Valie Export, Joao Penalva,
Sodium Dreams. Group show including P. Huyghe, S. Morris, M. Boyce,
Commissions East Residency, Jaywick, Nov ‘09-May 2010
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Chelsea College of Art and Design|
|Date:||15 October 2011|
|Copyright Holders:||Kamloops Art Gallery - all graphics and content on website|
|Projects or Series:||Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)|
|Locations / Venues:|
|Measurements or Duration of item:||16 minutes|
|Deposited By:||Prerna Bhatt|
|Deposited On:||09 Feb 2012 16:26|
|Last Modified:||08 Jul 2014 12:13|