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Exhibition: Orpheus Twice. With Juliette Blightman, Marcel Broodthaers, Jason Dodge, Félix González-Torres, Rodney Graham, David Maljkovic, Bruce McLean, Katrina Palmer, John Stezaker and Danh Vo (20 Sep — 14 Dec 2013)

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An exhibition curated by Vincent Honoré. With Juliette Blightman, Marcel Broodthaers, Jason Dodge, Félix González-Torres, Rodney Graham, David Maljkovic, Bruce McLean, Katrina Palmer, John Stezaker, Danh Vo.

The “ghost of an image” is an expression used by the English artist John Stezaker to describe the process by which images disappear, travel across time, and rematerialize. It’s a suitable subtitle for Orpheus Twice, an exhibition investigating image and absence.

This project was nourished by sources as diverse as the problematic and hotly debated restoration two years ago of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin and Child with St. Anne; Laurence Giavarini’s essay on a painting by Nicolas Poussin; and Jakuta Alikavazovic’s recent novel The Blond and the Bunker. 

Often in these sources, the mythological couple of Orpheus and Eurydice appears as a metaphor for the act of seeing and creating. The story is well known. At her wedding, while trying to escape from a satyr, Eurydice suffered a fatal snake bite to her heel. Her body was discovered by Orpheus who, overcome with grief, played such sad and mournful songs that all the nymphs and gods wept. On their advice, Orpheus travelled to the underworld where his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth on one condition: on his way back, he must walk in front of her and not look back until they had both reached the upper world. He set off with Eurydice following, but on their way he turned to look at her. She vanished again, this time forever.

Many renditions and interpretations of the myth exist. One of these focuses less on the existential and sentimental aspects of the story than on its metaphorical definition of artistic inspiration. In an essay, from 1955, entitled The Gaze of Orpheus, the French author and theorist Maurice Blanchot writes: “[Eurydice] is the profoundly dark point towards which art, desire, death, and the night all seem to lead”. As often with Blanchot, a classical myth is read through a highly personal vision, leading towards an understanding of the creative act.

He continues: “The work draws whoever devotes himself to it towards the point where it undergoes the ordeal of impossibility: an experience which is precisely nocturnal, which is that of the night”. Blanchot makes an analogy between Orpheus’s gaze, the creative process, and its philosophical interpretation. The path taken by Orpheus from light to dark, and back to light in search of his muse (inspiration) is symbolic of the artist’s journey from reality to the edges of the surreal. The force that enables Orpheus to cross the boundaries and to descend to Eurydice is that of art. Rendering this precise moment when the artist’s control is undermined, when an image (Eurydice) is about to disappear, is the object of the work of art.

…drawn from darkness to light…

re-articulated as a gap

 

With support from:

    

 

And additional support from Hauser and Wirth, London and Lisson Gallery, London

            

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  • Installation view. Juliette Blightman, It'll be here, when we're not, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
    1/32Installation view. Juliette Blightman, It'll be here, when we're not, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Juliette Blightman, Chinon, 1987. Courtesy of the artist and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
    2/32Juliette Blightman, Chinon, 1987. Courtesy of the artist and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    3/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    4/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Marcel Broodthaers, Bateau Tableau, 1973. On loan from Laurence Dreyfus Consulting, Paris, courtesy of the Marcel Broodthaers Estate. Image: Matthew Booth.
    5/32Marcel Broodthaers, Bateau Tableau, 1973. On loan from Laurence Dreyfus Consulting, Paris, courtesy of the Marcel Broodthaers Estate. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Marcel Broodthaers, Gedicht/Poem/Poème - Change/Exchange/Wechsel, 1973. Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    6/32Marcel Broodthaers, Gedicht/Poem/Poème - Change/Exchange/Wechsel, 1973. Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Jason Dodge, rose tourmaline inside of an owl. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin. Image: Matthew Booth.
    7/32Jason Dodge, rose tourmaline inside of an owl. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Jason Dodge, Darkness falls on a house in Čižiūnai village, Aukštadvaris subdistrict, Lithuania. Courtesy of the artist and VW, Berlin.
Marcel Broodthaers, Ein Eisenbahnüberfall (A Train Robbery), 1972. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, NY. Image: Matthew Booth.
    8/32Jason Dodge, Darkness falls on a house in Čižiūnai village, Aukštadvaris subdistrict, Lithuania. Courtesy of the artist and VW, Berlin. Marcel Broodthaers, Ein Eisenbahnüberfall (A Train Robbery), 1972. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, NY. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    9/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    10/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • John Stezaker, Untitled (For Angus) Film Still Collage I, 2009 and Danh Vo, We The People (detail), 2011. David Roberts Collection, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    11/32John Stezaker, Untitled (For Angus) Film Still Collage I, 2009 and Danh Vo, We The People (detail), 2011. David Roberts Collection, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    12/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • John Stezaker, Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) LXXIII, 2008 and Pair III, 2007. David Roberts Collection, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    13/32John Stezaker, Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) LXXIII, 2008 and Pair III, 2007. David Roberts Collection, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    14/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Danh Vo, We The People (detail), 2011. Courtesy the artist and Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres,
    15/32Danh Vo, We The People (detail), 2011. Courtesy the artist and Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (Orpheus Twice), 1991. Private Collection. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view: Matthew Booth.
    16/32Installation view: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. All works by Bruce McLean. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth
    17/32Installation view. All works by Bruce McLean. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth
  • Bruce McLean, Floataway Sculpture, Installed in Beverley Brook, Barnes, London, 1967 and Blow Away Piece, 1967. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
    18/32Bruce McLean, Floataway Sculpture, Installed in Beverley Brook, Barnes, London, 1967 and Blow Away Piece, 1967. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Bruce McLean, catalogue for King for a Day, 1972 exhibition at Tate Gallery. Private Collection, Paris and King for a Day, 1972 photograph. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
    19/32Bruce McLean, catalogue for King for a Day, 1972 exhibition at Tate Gallery. Private Collection, Paris and King for a Day, 1972 photograph. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    20/32Installation view. David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    21/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    22/32David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    23/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    24/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Rodney Graham, installation view. Courtesy of the artist and Lisson and Hauser & Wirth, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    25/32Rodney Graham, installation view. Courtesy of the artist and Lisson and Hauser & Wirth, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Rodney Graham, Basement Camera Shop circa 1937, 2011. David Roberts Collection, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    26/32Rodney Graham, Basement Camera Shop circa 1937, 2011. David Roberts Collection, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Rodney Graham, Sunday Sun, 1937, 2012. David Roberts Collection, London and Dead Flowers in My Studio, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    27/32Rodney Graham, Sunday Sun, 1937, 2012. David Roberts Collection, London and Dead Flowers in My Studio, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Rodney Graham, Dead Flowers in My Studio, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
    28/32Rodney Graham, Dead Flowers in My Studio, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    29/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    30/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
    31/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth.
  • Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth
    32/32Installation view. Image: Matthew Booth