14 / 10 / 14 – 29 / 11 / 14
“Executed with Beckettian formality… these works pulsate with suppressed emotions.” Financial Times
The first UK solo show by Nadia Kaabi-Linke, The Future Rewound & The Cabinet of Souls, features recent work and specially commissioned site-specific installations.
The exhibition is formed in two parts, both inspired by the history of the gallery’s building which, more than a century ago, served as the domicile for Imre Kiralfy, the man responsible for many of the grand exhibitions at Earls Court, White City and Olympia. Kiralfy brought curiosities from all parts of the global empire to England, where the Victorian public was eager to view such spectacles. The exhibition is conceived to reflect these last hundred years and the structures of power that thread colonialism and capitalism, captivity and control, the observed and observing.
The lower gallery, The Cabinet of Souls, inverts the roles of spectators and objects. The works make visible the ghostly shadows that influence social forces today and aims to release them from the confines of their representation. In Tunisian Americans vials of the soil that surrounds 400 US military graves in Tunisia are placed within old type cases and labelled with their corresponding social security numbers. Kaabi-Linke archives the very earth of her native soil, visible here in endless bottles; a gesture in quiet contrast to the violent history inherent in such cemetery dust. Impunities London Originals similarly negotiates visibility, using forensic methodology to render discernable the scars of domestic violence, both physical and psychological – trapped as traces on fragile paper. This space will also feature a new commission, Faces, evoking a critical media history that obverts the politics of representation of tribes brought over for the “Savage South Africa” spectacle that formed part of Kiralfy’s Greater Britain Exhibition in 1899.
In the upper gallery, The Future Rewound explores enduring methods of control in contemporary life. No is a two-channel video installation which focuses on the rigorous visa process that people go through to enter the UK. Modulor takes its name from an anthropocentric scale invented by architect Le Corbusier, whose harmonious balance of proportion is challenged in this installation, which recreates the minimum measurements of prison cells from across the world. All Along the Watchtower uses shadow as architectural form to evoke the undetectable surveillance structures that permeate contemporary life. Perspective 1 is a new work that refers to the recent financial crisis in London and challenges the omnipotent influence of capitalism.
Kaabi-Linke’s practice relates to the way geography and politics inform the identity of both the individual and the collective. Her work questions society’s invisible mechanisms of control and unseen violences.