It is with great pleasure that we announce the solo exhibition of Swedish artist Petra Bauer on the 28th of September at 8pm.
The exhibition is the third part of "State Affairs" Folder #003, which is the new exhibition chapter of our programme, that commenced in November 2017 with artist Anton Vidokle.
"State Affairs" is dedicated to artists that work mainly with video, and presents artistic practices that focus on thematics that are being narrated gradually through several artworks and a longer timespan and are distinguished for their interest in shedding light in historical conditions and how they affect contemporaneity. The programme aims to address directly current affairs, predicaments, problematics and cul-de-sacs of contemporary living, by summoning the past.
One of the most prominent artists from Sweden, Petra Bauer has for long been unfolding the powerful legacies but also realities of the women's movement. She is an artist, filmmaker and professor in art at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Bauer is interested in the medium of film as a political tool that can be used to challenge contemporary social and political events and processes. Much of her work focuses on how women have collectively self-organised, within and beyond art, with an aim to change political and social structures as well as everyday life. Another recurrent theme that the artist addresses is the materialisation and consequences of the colonial world order on our present time.
Her works are often made in collaboration with existing social and political organisations, such as the Southall Black Sisters (SBS) – the radical, pioneering London-based feminist organisation, who since 1979 have politically engaged in the contemporary social and political conditions of black and minority women. Recent projects include And all is yet to be done: Grammar of feminist organizing (2018), k.ö.k (ongoing) and Workers!(2018). Her work has been presented at festivals and exhibitions internationally.
For the exhibition the artist will present three of her previous works including the films Der Fall Joseph (2003), Sisters! (2011) and Choreography for the Giants (2013 - 2015)
For the film Sisters! which was in collaboration with the Southall Black Sisters (SBS) they used feminist strategies and theories to critically focus on and politicize conditions of production, authorship, narrative structures, and the choice of aesthetic strategies. The film documents one week in the life of SBS, taking its daily activities as a springboard for a visual discussion on feminism, politics and aesthetics in today’s society and it also shows political resistance in its most ordinary, everyday form.
In Choreography for the Giants which consists of a book and a film,Petra Bauer and Marius Dybwad Brandrud looks at the procession known as the Mechelen Ommegang (or Cavalcade), a world heritage event which only takes place every twenty-five years. The last time was in 1988, since then society has undergone many changes. The artists concentrate on the production process of this edition of the Ommegang. They pay critical attention to the claim to represent the whole of Mechelen societythrough the parade, particularly to the production of three new giant figures; an Arab, an African and an Asian. Who is being represented, by whom and on what conditions. Bauer is presenting here a video installation about the procession, made in collaboration with Marius Dybwad Brandrud.
Petra Bauer's video Der Fall Joseph deals with a tragedy that took place in the summer of 1997. A six year-old boy was found dead at a public swimming pool in eastern Germany. The boy's German mother and his Iraqi father suspected that their son did not drown but that a gang of neo-Nazis murdered him and they started their own inquiry.Their inquiry was still in progress three years later when,the "Joseph case" became the subject of enormous publicity in the German media. There was speculation as to whether the family had, in fact, invented the murder theory themselves. The public prosecutor finally concluded that the boy had died of a latent heart disease and thus was not the victim of a neo-Nazi gang.
"Der Fall Joseph" is constructed from ten different narratives: the family's,the prosecutor's, testimony from a witness, a police cross-questioning,excerpts from reports in the media and others. All of the narratives seem coherent, logical and credible but they all differ markedly from each other. With her video "Der Fall Joseph" Petra Bauer has chosen to emphasize the fact that subjective motives can contribute to creating an event and that an individual interpretation can become the accepted truth. Instead ofblindly trying to establish the truth, her video discusses the entire process of looking back on a series of events and seeing how the choices made at the time underlie and influence the final result. For whose opinion is it that finally wins the preferential right of interpretation.