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In a World We Can't See: A group exhibition opens at TENT Rotterdam
Opening In a World We Can't See installation view. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn.

ROTTERDAM.- TENT opened the group exhibition In a World We Can’t See, with premieres of new video installations by Margo Onnes and Arthur Kleinjan, and impressive multimedia works by Ine Lamers and Anoek Steketee. Also on view is Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi’s six-part video installation, initially realised for documenta 14 and now presented by IFFR at TENT.

Each of the four artists’ singular approach to lens-based practices exposes a deeper reality behind our immediate actuality. By exploying the surreal atmosphere and logic of magical-realist narratives, memories, and dreams, they evoke a collective subconsciousness that lies dormant beneath the surface of everyday life, probe for existential human fears and desires, and explore potential alternative realities. This fascination for the deeper layers behind the quotidian offers a multifaceted alternative to our current fixation with fake news, invented stories, and alternative facts, which currently seem to dominate our relationship with reality.

The films and video installations of Margo Onnes use dream logic to piece together images and symbols from our collective memory. TENT presents her long-awaited new work, All Along the Watchtower. Its starting point is the famous, eponymous song from the 1960s, in which Bob Dylan, with biblical and mythical imagery, evokes the atmosphere of imminent doom prevailing at the time. The song inspired many musical interpretations, including by Jimi Hendrix. Onnes has translated Dylan’s enigmatic vision to the conditions of our times. Accompanying the ominous dream imagery, music and dance feature prominently, for which Onnes engaged in close collaboration with the psychedelic electro-folk band Half Way Station and dancers from Conny Janssen Danst.

Arthur Kleinjan presents Above Us Only Sky, a new large-scale video triptych. A narrator leads us into a magical-realist history that is bereft of fabrication. His story begins with an investigation into a plane crash in communist Yugoslavia, which one woman survived after an unlikely fall from the air. This event becomes the point of entry to a dense web of seemingly unrelated events that appear to be deeply entangled. Kleinjan plays an intelligent game with the surreal logic of chance, the repetition of events, and synchronicity.

Through the application of photography and film, Ine Lamers probes the surface of reality. At TENT, she shows her ongoing project about Zheleznogorsk, a Siberian town established during the Cold War to secretly produce plutonium and missiles. Closed to the outside world and not on any official map, for those who were chosen to work there, the city promised the realisation of the socialist state ideal. Any form of research into the atomic city is forbidden. For years, Lamers has been circling this impenetrable site with her camera. In the resulting works she sheds a shifting light on the hidden city and its surrounding landscape.

Anoek Steketee presents Love Radio, a project about social trauma and the role of media. Hate radio played an important role in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Ten years later, on the same frequency, the popular radio soap Musekeweya (New Dawn) started broadcasting a hopefull message of love and reconciliation. Can fiction bring people together? Can imagination lay the foundations for a new society? Steketee raises these questions through photos and a video installation featuring listeners seemingly absorbed in this radio play’s parallel reality. Steketee’s theatrical approach is used to construct documentary imagery that inner and external worlds seem to merge.

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January 31, 2018

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