A rich vein of contemporary artistic practice revaluates the utopian dreams of the modern period. 'Modern Ruin' brings together artists and filmmakers who look back to modern art, architecture and design in order to visually and critically explore their historical failures. The profusion of recent images of modern ruins in art and film can be seen both as a response to particular physical and aesthetic qualities, and also as a metaphor for loss. The works in the exhibition and film program speak of living in the ruins of Modernism; some translate a mood of disappointment while others are imbued with a melancholy sense of dreams half-remembered. They examine the decay, detritus and self-effacing survivals of historical modernity.
Ruination is the shadow of progress and utopian thinking. From the Enlightenment, the idea of the modern was associated with the creation of new bodies of knowledge, with progress and the perfection of self and society. Modernity came to signify industrialisation and urbanisation from the second half of the nineteenth century. Modernism as a movement in art, literature, architecture and design, is associated with the avant-gardes of the early twentieth century, with radical innovation and the creation of new languages.
The contemporary landscape of art and film is littered with ruins, palimpsests of creation, form and disintegration. A return by artists and filmmakers to Modernism's purified forms and autonomous objects represents an attempt to imagine new meanings for them. The forms of the past emerge at particular times, sometimes as fragments or ruins. The question is how to decipher these fragments to create constellations of meaning that move between past, present and future.
The exhibition features film, video and installation works by artists and filmmakers including Chris Cornish, Stan Douglas, Manthia Diawara, Nina Fischer and Maroan El Sani, Andreas Fogarasi, Cyprien Gaillard, William Kentridge, Ann Lislegaard, David Maljkovic, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Ursula Mayer, Tracey Moffatt, Laurent Montaron, Deimantas Narkevičius, Susan Norrie, Anri Sala and Alain Tanner. The film program explores historical paradoxes and faultlines in the dream of progress and urban modernity and includes films by Michelangelo Antonioni, José Luis Guerín, Bill Morrison, Roberto Rossellini, Andrei Tarkovsky and Orson Welles.
LECTURE Modern Ruin, Kathryn Weir Curator's introduction to the exhibition and film program
List of Works
Il Deserto Rosso (The Red Desert) 1964 | Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Modern Times 1936 | Director: Charles Chaplin
Orphée (Orpheus) 1949 | Director: Jean Cocteau
Maison Tropicale 2008 | Director: Manthia Diawara
Vidéo 2006 | Artist: Stan Douglas
xoo - ex ovo omnia 2006 | Artist: Nina Fischer, Maroan El Sani