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Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea Opens Exhibition of Works by Jane and Louise Wilson
Jane & Louise Wilson, Hypnotic Suggestion 505, 1993. Video Installation, 18’ 8’’ ( beta S.P.) Courtesy of the Artists. Gulbenkian collection.

By: Miguel von Hafe Pérez

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA.- Suspending Time, the exhibition by Jane & Louise Wilson that the The Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea presents, is the most complete look at the work of these two creators held in Spain, curated by Isabel Carlos. It includes their most recent work, except for Hypnotic Suggestion 505, from 1993, a piece in which the artists allow themselves to be hypnotised before a camera. It became a benchmark for some of the elements in their creative concerns: the question of identity and the respective loss of control, questioning how we receive images on their most immediate plane and the inevitable breaches their narrative manipulation can cause, and even the ongoing dialogue with cinema as a major and paradigmatic form of art in the twentieth century.

The suspended time mentioned in the exhibition title refers in particular to the time of modernity. Hence cultural models such as the Russian avant-garde, and above all constructivism, Stanley Kubrick’s films or historical references that cross over this pathway, like the tension resulting from the political cauldron the first avant-gardes were born out of, and which led to the unmentionable worldwide catastrophe that defined the first half of the twentieth century.

And so, works emanating directly from research carried out by the artists in the archives of Stanley Kubrick both reflect on a specific circumstance (in essence, the fact that the Aryan Papers project was ultimately abandoned by the filmmaker) and unfold in a particular temporal ambiguity, referring to the inside of the narrative substratum initially drawn up by Kubrick. Historical memory and narrative speculation blend with each other on a plane that only art can conscientiously problematise.

Jane and Louise Wilson, twins born in 1967, have shown that this is a privileged generation to oppose ‘Adornian silence’ with a possibility for discourse on barbarism. This fact could hardly rest on a perception of modernity as an open process alone, but also on a position that accepts doubt, the instability of the senses and the capacity of art to articulate positively with other discourses like sources for the creative re-enactment of the past and the present.

Although far removed from any kind of more or less demagogical political commitment, this work distils a particular capacity for suggesting perceptive challenges and conceptual challenges to the viewer. A decisive factor in this is the fact that the artists deconstruct languages that are close to us, like photography and film, in installations that reverberate with an eminently traditional sculptural experience. In fact, the approach to the cinematographic universe is specified in something we could call an ‘expanded experience’ of film. Radically different from the linear narrative of a film (regardless of how this has been questioned in recent decades, the fact that the actual physical condition of finding ourselves closed away in a room for a certain period of time looking at a screen determines it thus), this combination of different means allows the artists a visual synthesis that is fully affirmed as a global experience: visual, auditive and haptic.

I think it is in the active silences that make up the receptive passages of each piece presented here that we can best infer the stimulating complexity of the proposals. Because it is in these intervals that we are really capable of interpreting what we are allowed to see. It is in this suspension of time where we clearly perceive that art, architecture, film, history, and why not, life in general, emerge from a kind of hermeneutic urgency that can only be met individually.

The Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea | Isabel Carlos | Jane and Louise Wilson |

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