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Works by Leslie Thornton and James Richards on view at Kestner Gesellschaft
Installation view. Photo: Zakowski.

HANOVER.- With Abyss Film , the Kestner Gesellschaft is presenting a traveling exhibition by the British artist James Richards (*1983 Cardiff, UK) in collaboration with Bergen Kunsthall and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. At the Kestner Gesellschaft the show has been augmented by a collaborative project with the American avant-garde filmmaker Leslie Thornton (*1951 Knoxville, Tennessee, US). These two important video artists from different generations share similar artistic methods: they use found and self-produced images to create affective and intimate collages.

In his works, which also include sound installations and music, James Richards points to poetic and structural connections between found and self-produced media. He creates collages of online videos, artists’ films, intimate home videos, archival footage, obscure television clips, Internet streams, and used VHS tapes. His film Rosebud (2013) earned him a nomination for the renowned Turner Prize in 2014.

The central work of the exhibition is the sound installation Crumb Mahogany (2016). It consists of a variety of sounds, such as a siren, choral music, and the sound of paper being ripped. The spatialization of the sound collage with six speakers positioned in a circle physically confronts the visitors with harmonies and disharmonies.

Leslie Thornton understands media as bearers of ideology. The production process encodes the complex relationships between the viewer and the producer. Thornton’s films, by contrast, reveal an openness and transparency that results from the artist’s involvement in the film. Often she comments on events or speaks about the camerawork during the filming. Her films thus show the logical consistency of their formal qualities and become scenes of exposed perception.

James Richards first encountered Leslie Thornton’s films as a student. The work
Crossing is the result of their collaboration. The film was created in an intensive dialogue between the two artists and will be shown for the first time in Germany.

James Richards (*1983 Cardiff, UK) is a British artist who lives in Berlin. Richards studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design in London. The video artist will represent Wales at the 57th Venice Art Biennial 2017. Recent solo shows include Requests and Antisongs , ICA, London (2016), Crumb Mahogany , Bergen Kunsthall, 2016, James Ri chards , Kunstverein München (2015) and Not Blacking Out Just Turning The Lights Off , Chisenhale, London (2011). Selected group exhibitions include Cut To Swipe , Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015), Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms , 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015), S p e c ula tio n s O n A n o n y m o u s M a t e rials , Fridericianum, Kassel (2014), Meanwhile… Suddenly, and Then , 12th Lyon Biennial (2013) and The Encyclopedic Palace , 55th Venice Biennial (2013). Crossing will be shown at Whitney Biennial, New York, in 2017.

Leslie Thornton (*1951, in Knoxville, Tennesse, US) has long been considered a pioneer of contemporary media aesthetics, working at the borders and limits of cinema, video and digital forms. She is known for engaging a range of charged subjects, from Feminism, Orientalism to the exfoliations of war, to the disposition of non-human species. Such seminal works as the 33 year serial Peggy and Fred in Hell (starting 1984) occupy a unique place in media history, cited as a masterwork of 20th Century film and video art. Thornton honors and awards include the Maya Deren Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Herb Albert Award in Film/Video. Her work has been screened and installed around the world, including at MoMA PS1, New York, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai. Crossing will be shown at Whitney Biennial, New York, in 2017. As a Professor of Media at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, US, among others, Leslie Thornton has influenced an entire generation of artists. She lives and works in New York.

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