30 October – 20 December 2008
Susan Hiller uses ephemeral, everyday objects to tell stories and to extract new meanings from them – producing an art that is both visually stimulating and emotionally compelling. She is intrigued by the unspoken, the unrecorded and the unnoticed – in the gaps and overlaps between space and time, dream and experience. For her second exhibition at Timothy Taylor Gallery, Hiller premieres new video and photography, alongside earlier works from the 1970s and 1980s, all focusing on her long-term interest in the relationships between altered states of consciousness such as dream states, trance, meditation and art practice. The consistency and significance of Hiller’s output since the 1970s is currently being acknowledged by curators and collectors alike. The Last Silent Movie, 2007, on disappearing languages, was considered by many to be one of the high points of the recent Berlin Biennale.
At the heart of Proposals and Demonstrations lies the ambitious new video presentation, From Here to Eternity, 2008, a group of animated projections based upon historical labyrinth patterns, by means of which the viewer may achieve a contemplative state of mind. Like many works by Hiller, From Here to Eternity reminds us of the strong links between modernism and the occult, spiritual practices and traditions of the past – which influenced the work of Mondrian, Miró and others. Hiller continues her mapping of this ‘ghostly’ legacy of Modernism in two new photographic works in the exhibition: Auras: Homage to Marcel Duchamp, 2007/8 and Levitations: Homage to Yves Klein, 2007/8 which explore the popular phenomenon of internet self-portraiture of subjects who depict themselves levitating, flying, or emitting multicoloured auras.
The inclusion of significant earlier works in the exhibition reveals Hiller’s long association with the exploration of the hidden: Brian Dillon describes Hiller’s work as ‘conjuring the visible from the non-visible, tracking the movements of the unseen, tracing the outlines of the evanescent – hearing voices out of the ether and giving a shape to what is not there.’ One of the earliest works shown is Dream Mapping, 1974, a series of notebooks that record the dreams of participants who slept under the stars in mushroom ‘fairy rings’ in rural Wiltshire, as part of a performance orchestrated by Hiller. In Magic Lantern, 1987, a signature work originally commissioned for the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Hiller blurs the boundaries between scientific enquiry and the unruly and irrational, as ghost stories, optics, technology and aesthetics collide.
Susan Hiller (b. 1940, Tallahassee, Florida) lives and works in London and Berlin. Hiller is represented extensively in international private and public collections, including Tate; The British Council; The Henry Moore Sculpture Collection; The Victoria and Albert Museum; The Arts Council of Great Britain; The Government Art Collection; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Ella Fontanals Cisneros Foundation, Miami; The UBS Collection; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and others.
Hiller’s five channel video installation, Psi Girls, 1999 is currently installed in the States of Flux wing on level 5 of Tate Modern, London. Her most recent exhibitions have included a mini-retrospective entitled Outlaw Cowgirl and Other Works at The BAWAG Foundation, Vienna, and presentations of The Last Silent Movie at the 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, and at Matt’s Gallery, London (all 2008), as well as solo exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2007), Castello di Rivoli,Turin (2006), Kunsthalle Basel (2005), Baltic Centre, Gateshead (2004), and Museo Serralves, Porto (2004). Forthcoming solo events in October and November this year include The J. Street Project at Der Deutsche Bundestag, Berlin and The Jewish Museum, New York; and screenings of The Last Silent Movie at the Museum of Modern Art and at Anthology Film Archives, New York in association with ARTPROJX in November.
A double publication, commissioned by the ICA and co-published with BookWorks, containing images and texts by the artist will be available during the exhibition in paperback format and as a limited, boxed edition.
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