TIME / IMAGE

Curated by Amy Powell
Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
January 29 - April 23, 2016
Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons

Time / Image explores the interrelationship of time and thought in contemporary art. Curated by Amy L. Powell, curator of modern and contemporary art at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and former Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at Blaffer Art Museum. Time / Image opened at the Blaffer in September 2015 before traveling to the Krannert Art Museum where it will be on view until April 2016.

The exhibition borrows its title and, loosely, its philosophical framework from French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995). Deleuze developed the concept of “the time-image” to describe what he felt to be a profound change in the perception of time brought about by post-World War II cinema. Through formal techniques such as cutting, montage, and repetition, cinema for Deleuze restated time as a tangible and active force with the potential to reach beyond the movie theater and into audiences’ experiences of the world at large.

Time / Image is organized around the work of 11 international artists and filmmakers–Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons–who understand time expansively rather than quantitatively. These artists seek out and develop temporal strategies of representation across film, video, photography and painting that revive ghostly residues of the past, propose unexpected alignments across time periods, or reveal time-bending properties of their materials.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Kara Keeling, Amy L. Powell, Raqs Media Collective, and Jeannine Tang. Along with illuminating the works in the exhibition, the publication will survey critical temporal interventions in film and video by John Akomfrah, Black Audio Film Collective, Robert Bresson, Cecilia Dougherty, Andrea Geyer, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Chris Marker, The Otolith Group, Raoul Peck, Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), Hito Steyerl, Clarissa Tossin, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Both venues will present dedicated screening programs featuring selected works drawn from this discussion.

Images courtesy of Krannert Art Museum

TIME / IMAGE

Curated by Amy Powell
Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, TX
September 28 - December 19, 2015
Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons

Time / Image explores the interrelationship of time and thought in contemporary art. Curated by Amy L. Powell, curator of modern and contemporary art at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and former Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at Blaffer Art Museum, Time / Image opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and continues through Dec. 12 at Blaffer before traveling to Krannert Art Museum in 2016.

The exhibition borrows its title and, loosely, its philosophical framework from French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995). Deleuze developed the concept of “the time-image” to describe what he felt to be a profound change in the perception of time brought about by post-World War II cinema. Through formal techniques such as cutting, montage, and repetition, cinema for Deleuze restated time as a tangible and active force with the potential to reach beyond the movie theater and into audiences’ experiences of the world at large.



Time / Image is organized around the work of 11 international artists and filmmakers–Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons–who understand time expansively rather than quantitatively. These artists seek out and develop temporal strategies of representation across film, video, photography and painting that revive ghostly residues of the past, propose unexpected alignments across time periods, or reveal time-bending properties of their materials.



The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Kara Keeling, Amy L. Powell, Raqs Media Collective, and Jeannine Tang. Along with illuminating the works in the exhibition, the publication will survey critical temporal interventions in film and video by John Akomfrah, Black Audio Film Collective, Robert Bresson, Cecilia Dougherty, Andrea Geyer, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Chris Marker, The Otolith Group, Raoul Peck, Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), Hito Steyerl, Clarissa Tossin, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Both venues will present dedicated screening programs featuring selected works drawn from this discussion.

www.blafferartmuseum.org/time/



ReSOUNDINGS

Garth Erasmus and Siemon Allen
Curated by Julie McGee
Mechanical Hall Gallery, University of Delaware, DE
September 9 - December 11, 2015

Sound is an archeological and navigational tool for exploring the richly complicated terrain of South African history for artists Garth Erasmus and Siemon Allen. Through their work in ReSoundings we enter a world of South African chronologies and heritage deeply rooted and specific yet resonant beyond national borders.

Erasmus summons stories of the indigenous peoples for whom present-day Cape Town was home long before European contact and colonization. Their narratives of resistance and resilience inspire his sound art, seen and heard in ReSoundings. Allen’s work is informed by his on-going analysis of the Afrikaans folksong, “Daar Kom Die Alibama” (There Comes the Alabama) and its purported namesake the eponymous Confederate raider, CSS Alabama, which docked in the Cape in 1863 and 1864. Allen’s extensive archival research into its recorded history and its namesake underpins an artistic practice that is forensic and conceptual. His methodical collecting and data mining inform his conceptual construction, and our visual experience derives from the artist’s creative response to the archive.




Generated during his recent exploration of coastal regions in South Africa, Allen’s project investigates the complex relationships between the United States and South Africa through various maritime and colonial histories. Signal Hill, an eleven foot panoramic digital print mounted on a curved frame, shows the view toward Table Bay in Cape Town from Signal Hill, with Robben Island in the distance. In August of 1863 locals watched the Alabama capture the Union flagged Sea Bride from this vantage point. Ensign features 169 photographic details of the ships’s worn, hand-sewn flag. Raphael Semmes, the Alabama’s captain, presented the ship’s Confederate ensign to his agent in Cape Town during the ships’s last visit there in 1864. This Civil War artifact is today housed in the collection of Iziko Museums of South Africa.











For more information visit:
www.sites.udel.edu/museums/mechanical-hall-gallery/resoundings/

Siemon Allen and Garth Erasmus (photo by Julie McGee)

LABELS & COVERS

curated by Tosha Grantham
Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VA
September 4th - October 17, 2015

Siemon Allen will present Labels, an evolving architectural, site-responsive installation, at Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia. Consisting of over 7000 digital prints sourced from his extensive archive of South African audio, this is the fourth and largest version of a work informed by an ongoing collection project of South African recordings. Through such projects Allen explores the image of South Africa in an evolving studio practice that considers how mass-produced items – newspapers, stamps, magazines, and records – transmit information and function in the construction of national identity.



Labels functions both as historical record and chronological discography. It also serves as a visual memorial to South Africa’s rich musical past – each label represents an individual recording that pays homage to that past by naming every artist in the archive. Some names and recordings are well known, but many more are now forgotten. As the project develops, names and labels are added to the curtain. But like an asymptote that never reaches its axis, the collection can never be complete. Inasmuch as the archive can never contain all recordings, the curtain cannot represent all artists. The project is but a fragment of history and the curtain an impossible attempt to capture that history. Like Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial in Washington, DC, Allen suggests, “the sheer accumulation of ‘the individual’ transforms the collective into the monumental.”



Allen's solo exhibition at Second Street marks the first time Labels will be presented in the United States. Previous versions of Labels have been shown in the South African Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, at Goodman Gallery Cape and the Iziko Slave Lodge Cultural History Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to Labels, Allen will include Covers a series of digital prints sourced from selected details of record covers in his audio archive. A searchable web-based database of the audio archive can be viewed at www.flatinternational.org.








There will be an opening reception on September 4th, from 5:30- 7:30 pm, with a talk by the artist at 6:30 pm. On closing day, Saturday, October 17th, Second Street Gallery will host an artist/curator conversation from 4-5 pm with Allen, David Noyes, a Central and Southern African music specialist, and exhibition curator Tosha Grantham.

www.secondstreetgallery.org



EXHIBITION - INTERVIEW

Reynolds Gallery, Richmond VA
January 10 - February 15, 2014
Amanda Dalla Villa Adams recently conducted an email interview with Siemon Allen discussing his exhibition at Reynolds Gallery. Her review of the exhibition is featured in the critic pics at ArtForum.com.



Amanda Dalla Villa Adams: What is the relationship between the newer studio-based pieces and the older/reworked ideas associated with the comics, woven film strips, and stamps? (I understand that these are all new works made specifically for "Exhibition")

Siemon Allen: My goal for the exhibition was to use it as an opportunity to explore a fragmented and experimental combination of new and old ideas. In varied degrees all the works on this show return to or reference earlier projects. My first exhibition (at the ICA in Johannesburg) after leaving art school in 1993 included many of the eclectic and personal themes explored in Exhibition: the model houses, stamps and other collected artifacts, and woven work (not to mention an audio artifact from my CD collection). At that time I was interested in ideas of display, presentation and ownership and perhaps it is not a far leap to see those ideas extend into “exhibition” here.


The studio-based pieces likewise reference this early body of work from my first exhibition. That early work included a series of small scale models of houses or spaces I had lived in. I returned again to that work in 1999 when I build a half-scale model of my parent’s home in South Africa in cardboard at Gallery 400 in Chicago during a residency there. At that time I was quite interested in the idea of the room-within-a-room, an installation theme that returns often in my other work (see the Stamps installation and others.) The Gallery 400 exhibition was called House and it in turn became the subject of another later piece titled Gallery in which I made a smaller scale model of both Gallery 400 and the installation. For the model piece Exhibition in this current show I returned to many of these themes by exploring the merging of a model of the current exhibition space with my current studio and home. More information on the "room-within-the-room" concept can be viewed at my website.




The Queen stamp piece was originally conceived of in 2007 but only executed in late 2013. Initially it was simply a side project to keep my mind off the Makeba! collection project I was working on at that time. Certainly Queen could also be viewed as a by-product of the larger South African stamp collection project — after all while sifting out the South African stamps, these queen (or Machin) stamps were some of the notable that remained after sorting. Of course, it is significant that, while all the queen stamps were produced in the UK they were all sent on envelopes to (and therefore collected in) South Africa. So on the face it may appear that the Queen work seems like a fresh departure, it is however indelibly linked to the other earlier projects.

Studio (the large floating print) is probably the most recent of all the pieces but it too has roots in earlier work for example the large-scale scan enlargements I made of records in 2009 and 2010. At that time I was already experimenting with scanning other materials and objects in high detail and also had the notion to shift to different surfaces. I scanned my studio floor and enlarged the image by about 1000%. The effect, like in the Records prints, is to bring the viewer closer to the surface, something akin to a microscopic view.


La Grande Illusion continues a long path of woven film works that I have explored since art school. Here I repurposed an original 16 mm copy of Jean Renoir's classic 1937 anti-war film: La Grande Illusion. I have appropriated 16 mm film a number of times in previous works, but this is only the second using a high profile named film. The first was Hitchcock's The Birds, made in South Africa in 2008. The woven VHS pieces go all the way back to my first exhibition at the ICA in Johannesburg in 1993 followed by the large-scale installation La Jetée I installed at the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in 1997.

Naglegioen II is a reworking of a piece I first exhibited at Fusebox in Washington DC in 2004. The first version consisted entirely of Xerox enlargements of an Afrikaans photo-comic from the 1970s. With this new version I chose to scan the original comic thus retaining much of the aged sepia tone of the paper. This approach gives the work the effect of being dipped in urine. Like the Tintin work, Land of Black Gold, that accompanied the original version of Naglegioen, the speech bubbles here have all been erased.






ADVA: Are Studio and Exhibition in progress or finished works? If in progress, in what direction do you see these works evolving? (Julia Monroe at Reynolds Gallery mentioned that the model could be architecturally expanded to include more exhibition spaces. How large might the model become?)

SA: Exhibition (the model piece), at the moment, consists of three merged replicas of actual spaces that I am currently working or living in, each at slightly different scales: 1) Reynolds Gallery, 2) my studio and 3) my home. The Reynolds Gallery model includes small scale versions of the artwork I presented in the actual exhibition, while the studio and home models included real-scale drawings I had made last year. (Practically I used the Reynolds model to site the show.) My goal is to continue adding to the work many of my previous and possible future exhibition spaces with other living spaces as well. Each of the spaces might include exact replicas of the artwork that I showed or plan to show there but I am hoping to mix it up and may diverge from that approach by including artwork ideas that differ from the real world spaces. This may include fictional future work that may never come to fruition in the actual space. Ultimately this model installation would expand like an irrational apartment block filling the exhibition space until many of the central spaces become inaccessible and only the outer spaces allow for viewer engagement.






Studio at Reynolds Gallery is an extract of the full work. It is about about two thirds the size of the original scan of my studio floor. I would eventually like to show the full work. I am also considering expanding the project to scanning additional floors and surfaces, perhaps including some sites with particular social content.

ADVA: Could you expand more on the slippage that happens with Studio? Specifically, I am thinking about its relationship between painting/sculpture, flat/raised surface, aesthetic object/topographical map, studio/exhibition space.

SA: Though trained as a sculptor, I have always been interested in merging 3D and 2D practices (mostly without paint). Some of my works, like the woven pieces, simultaneously reference painting as well as film, but I always take care to include the depth dimension, no matter how slight it may be. The woven pieces are particularly complex: are they a collection of photographs, minimalist paintings, representations of films or simply craft objects like hanging carpets?

Likewise Studio, has similar slippages. Can it be viewed as image of object? Is it a photograph, and if so, does a scanner constitute a camera? With this new work, I am interested in how this seemingly simple idea can generate such a rich body of references. On one level it just a small fragment of a Richmond floor, but magnified in scale all the mundane details, bits of tape, dog hair, burn marks all become curious and engaging documents of a history of layered activities. The work also references a topography and two feet of floor space becomes a large scale map similar to those seen in Google earth. The “plane” is a studio floor but it could also be a battlefield, it is both micro and macro, local and global.



Conceptually I am also interested in the idea that Studio references the historical moment when Jackson Pollock shifted his practice to the floor. Unlike Pollock though I am returning this document of actions to the floor. The large-scale print captures historical actions, (mine, my friends, previous owners) that have serendipitously built up over many years on this surface (my studio used to be a paint shop in the 1960s here in Richmond, VA). As a South African artist coming to the United States I have always viewed the Abstract-Expressionists and the scale of their work as quintessentially American. In many ways the scale of my works, the Stamps, the Newspapers, Studio, are ways that I acknowledge and deal with this American context. It is unlikely that I would have made similar work in South Africa.

ADVA: Is there any relationship between the works in "Exhibition" and the database you are composing of South African music? Because the database mimics the language of an historical archive, do you see yourself as both a historian and artist?

SA: There are some very slim connections between these new works and the archive of South African music. On one level this new work is a mental break from that larger endeavor. But the idea of say an archive of UK stamps sent to South Africa, or the appropriation of an apartheid-era Afrikaans photo-comic, or even a repurposed historical anti-war film, do suggest, in my mind, some elliptical connections to the larger archive project. Probably the most obvious connection, though, is that I am planning to include a miniature version of the Labels curtain (the installation that developed out of the South African Audio Archive currently on show at the Slave Lodge in Cape Town) in one of the model spaces.


EXHIBITION - NEW WORK AT REYNOLDS

Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA
January 10 - February 15, 2014

Reynolds Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of new work by South African born, US based artist Siemon Allen entitled Exhibition.

Siemon Allen’s studio practice reflects a number of distinct yet interconnected processes in which his overlapping interests in aesthetics and politics allow him to produce works that are loaded with historical significance and visual magnitude. He systematically accumulates mass-produced materials including postal stamps, newspapers, old film stock, trading cards, comics, and audio recordings. Allen catalogues and repurposes these visual culture artifacts as raw material for creating large-scale works that challenge the division between sculpture and painting. His approach is not unlike that of an archivist, each collected item bringing with it the narrative of its production, dissemination, and function. Yet configured for exhibition, Allen’s collection projects operate as gridded pattern fields and are transformed into autonomous art objects.

Allen also uses more experimental approaches such as employing his flat-bed scanner to create large-scale digital prints and architectural scale modeling to explore the idea of creating rooms within rooms. Most recently he has been exploring ways in which his own collection of plans and models from past exhibitions might collide and combine into a single space and temporality. The finished work will be a sort of matryoshka doll amalgamation of exhibition venues and miniature art works.

For his exhibition at Reynolds Gallery, Allen will present a number of new works that reflect distinct themes and threads that have been consistent investigations of his studio practice form many years. As Allen describes it, “I see Exhibition as an exploration into works that have been germinating for some time in my mind, works conceived and not realized. In a sense Exhibition is a move into the territory of those in-between spaces that are a part of the studio process.” The show explores the processes of conceptually and physically creating art works.

sourced from the gallery press release


C-16

Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
December 14, 2013 - February 8, 2014
Siemon Allen | Stuart Bird | Vusi Beauchamp | Candice Breitz | Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin | Kudzanai Chiurai | David Goldblatt | Haroon Gunn-Salie | Kendell Geers | Alfredo Jaar | William Kentridge | Moshekwa Langa | Gerald Machona | Walter Oltmann | Mikhael Subotzky | Clive van den Berg | Sue Williamson



Goodman Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition to end the calendar year, review some of the most significant works produced in 2013 and not yet seen in Cape Town, unveil new chapters in some ongoing projects, and to look forward to exhibitions coming up in 2014.

The exhibition features work by some of South Africa's most important artists covering the full spectrum of contemporary artistic practice, and also serves as a chance to introduce a Cape Town audience to some of the exciting young artists the gallery has begun working with over the past year.

In Land of Black Gold IV, recently shown on the exhibition Kaboom! Comics in Art at the Museum fur Moderne Kunst in Bremen, Siemon Allen strategically cuts up, splices and erases original Tintin comic strips by Hergé to create a large single panel that raises questions about language, cultural perspective and the contingent nature of narrative.

Sourced from the gallery press release.
Land of Black Gold IV, 2004
cut-up comics, foam board, correction fluid