BILBAO.- The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
is presenting Alex Reynolds. There is a Law, There is a Hand, There is a Song, the first exhibition of 2021 in the Film & Video gallery, a space that the Museum reserves for key works in video art, film, and the artistic languages associated with the moving image.
This time, three recent works by Alex Reynolds (b. 1978, Bilbao) are being featured. Reynolds is known for her constant exploration of our modes of relation and affection, especially in their manifestations through cinematic language. The work The Hand that Sings (2021), recently co-produced by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, is being shown in an international premiere in the main gallery as part of this exhibition.
Created by Reynolds in collaboration with Swedish choreographer Alma Södeberg, The Hand that Sings builds a web of connecting gestures, voices, and images in time. These elements seem to mimic each other in open sequences and chain reactions: from the almost ritual-like extraction of oak bark in Extremadura during the annual cork harvest, to the act of peeling an orange before a small fire or the act of washing someones hand; from the tremor of leaves to the trembling of a voice, along with the flapping of a birds wings in the distance or again, the feedback loop between the performers chant and hand movements. Words in Spanish and English are traded on a rooftop as we get a glimpse of the Palace of Justice in the Brussels skyline. The Hand that Sings is an evocative, sensorial work that focuses on details and contemplation. Bodies, the landscape, and the camera act in reciprocal harmony.
The film Palais (2020), filmed at the Palace of Justice in Brussels, an impressive work of architecture from the early 19th century, consists of a walkthrough of the buildings labyrinthine administrative facilities, alternating monumental spaces, narrow hallways, abandoned offices, walls covered in graffiti, and sinister elevators. The camera follows a hand that opens doors, touches walls, and pushes buttons, filming different spaces in a disturbing atmosphere. The movement of the camera suggests mixed emotions of uncanny trepidation, curiosity, and even mischievous humor. It is a silent tour in which the ambient sounds, the artists steps, opening doors, the elevators almost violent mechanism, and the uncanny murmur of voices in the distance come to the fore.
The third work in this installation, Justine (2020), consists of a tuning fork that vibrates in the air almost imperceptibly. A tuning fork is a fork-shaped metal implement that is traditionally used to fine-tune musical instruments. In this case, the piece has been custom-made to alter its standard purpose, so it evokes the exact voice pitch of a person known to the artist, after whose nameJustinethe work is titled. Alex Reynoldss work is characterized by an ambitious manipulation of filmic language and an interest in exploring the relations between its key elements: sound, rhythm, acting and storytelling, as well as the viewers role in them. Through film, the artist plays with and alters the dominating structures and conventions of visual narration, defying our perception beyond the perimeter of the screen and the realm of images.
Alex Reynolds (b. 1978, Bilbao) lives and works in Bilbao and Brussels. Her work combines multiple registers of performance and cinema, as well as installations, texts, photographs, and conceptual pieces. Her films are far from the clash between the structures of cinematic codes and narrative film. These two approaches coexist in her work, enabling the artist to use cinematic conventions as material for inquiring into the interpersonal.
Reynolds won a grant from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2013, as well as the Fine Arts Grant from the Botín Foundation in 2016 and la Caixa Foundations Call for Productions in 2020. She is currently a visiting professor at KASK in Ghent and a member of the Social Acoustics/Communities in Movement research group. Her works have been exhibited at the Index Foundation (Stockholm), Hollybush Gardens (London), the Centre dArt La Panera (Lleida), FRAC Lorraine (Metz), the Museum M (Leuven), the Galería Marta Cervera (Madrid), Tabakalera (Donostia/San Sebastián), CA2M (Madrid), the Syndicate (Cologne), the Bonniers Konsthall (Stockholm), the Joan Miró Foundation (Barcelona), and other spaces. Her films have been shown in movie theaters and festivals like FIDMarseille, Rencontres Internationales, the Aesthetica Film Festival (York, United Kingdom), and Cinematek (Brussels).
Film & Video (Gallery 103)
The Film & Video gallery features a program of exhibitions exclusively devoted to contemporary practices of the moving image, video art, and film-based media installation. Since it opened in 2014, this space has presented work by unique artists such as Christian Marclay, Ragnar Kjartansson, Fiona Tan, Ken Jacobs, Amie Siegel, Pierre Huyghe. Michael Snow, Javier Téllez, Diana Thater, Allora & Calzadilla, Jesper Just, and Jesse Jones. The program of the gallery begins in 2020 with this quintessential artist of film and video.