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Congo 1880 & Untitled1900

Congo 1880 & Untitled1900

CCS 2008 Second Thoughts

“Congo 1880″ and “Untitled 1900″ installation. Ground for Progress exhibition curated by Lauren Judith Wolk at CCS. Photo by Lauren Wolk


CCS 2008 Second Thoughts

“Congo 1880″ and “Untitled 1900″ installation. Ground for Progress exhibition curated by Lauren Judith Wolk at CCS. Photo by Lauren Wolk

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GROUNDS FOR PROGRESS exhibition in CCS Bard Galleries

“Grounds for Progress brings together works by Gemma Pardo in video, photographs by Aura Rosenberg, and paintings by Lisa Sanditz. The artists’ exploration of historiographical production and the sociological ramifications of globalization unite these works. For each artist depictions of landscape are the surface or ground on which is registered the irrationality, ambiguity, and contradictory aspects of the unfolding of history….”

“..Gemma Pardo’s video pieces reveal land and seascapes that transform through a process of almost imperceptible shifting. Imagery of pristine nature and waterside industry combine through cross-fade editing and superimposition in Congo 1880 andUntitled 1900. Both works picture factories as monoliths that are iconic of every mark human beings have made on the earth. Pardo’s use of ambiguously historical titles, as well as her transmogrification of site and nonlinear shifting of time, indicates her approach to site as a field of confluence between the forces of historical subjectivity. Her works suggest our current collective state of suspension in regard to our interactions with nature and industry- a state of not yet having found a way to move forward and being unable to redeem our past.”

“The images seen in these works make no attempt to unify, explain or digest the complicated subjects and ideas they explore. Rather, the pieces grapple with the contradictory propensities of cultures both, to destroy and create, historicize and forget, make coherent and admit irrationality. Grounds for Progress does not attempt to anthologize the overarching themes of historiography, globalization, or ecological devastation. The exhibition is an exploration of threads that connect the works of three artists who investigate these themes on similar grounds.”

Follow the link to see publication  PLAN DE RESCATE

Plan de Rescate es un proyecto expositivo en el que se invita a veintidós artistas, en su mayoría nacidos o vinculados a Galicia, a reflexionar sobre el contexto socioeconómico contemporáneo. En un momento en el que la crisis financiera está condicionando, no sólo la calidad de la producción y exhibición artística, sino el nivel de endeudamiento y pobreza de los ciudadanos, el papel que debe jugar el arte contemporáneo es el de crear dispositivos para la reflexión y el análisis actuando como espejo y motor de la sociedad. El punto de partida de este relato surge del mísmo espacio donde se va a celebrar la exposición: un “elefante blanco”, una propiedad inmobiliaria en el centro urbano de la ciudad de A Coruña que antaño albergó importantes negocios pero que hoy se encuentra en una situación de estancamiento.


Gemma Pardo, ‘Congo 1880′.

One of the highlights from this year’s crop of young art grads included in the traveling New Contemporaries exhibition is a video simply showing the tide rising in an non-descript landscape, exuding a startling subtlety that’s getting more reactions than visually louder counterparts. Gemma Pardo’s ‘Congo 1880′ patiently shows the way the water takes over the land over a period of time. At the end the camera turns to nearby industrial constructions seen beyond the water. This place that initially looks like an essentialised nowhere, turns out could be everywhere.

The piece shows the endless lyrical potential of a simple, primal image and its inevitable coexistence with multiple narratives, the thudding awareness and the questions that follow history – the video has been made now but has anything really changed since the inhumane days of the title’s Congo in the 1880s? The waves still move over and recede back from the land; the implication can be read that nothing much has advanced; ironically, the only evidence of ‘progress’ are the industrial buildings seen in the background, probably half derelict and the site of social abuse, a powerful visual one-liner embedded in a work that’s memorable for its soothing peacefulness. Before the video’s over it becomes apparent that the landscape in view is an ordinary local creek, whose activities have been amplified to wondrous levels; might sound overly straightforward, but somehow the whole thing is really magical.

Pardo (b. 1976, Galicia, Spain, lives and works London), a 2007 grad from the Byam Shaw MA in Fine Art, is one of thirty-seven artists graduating from a UK Fine Art programme who have been selected from over 1200 open submissions by this year’s New Contemps panel – artist Michael Landy, curator Linda Norden and previous New Contemporary artist Nigel Cooke. From the selectors’ notes: ‘ ‘CONGO!’ became a New Contemps jury-rallying cry after we squinted through Gemma Pardo’s wilfully confounding seascape. Visual metaphor? Optical rebus? Pardo’s Congo 1880 has no punch line or crucial climax: it just persists and shifts almost imperceptibly. Given the history – and related histories – the continual oscillation between quasi-clarity and blur, absence and anticipation of resolution seems an exceedingly effective metaphor.’ Look out for more of Pardo’s deceptively tranquil work with artist group Nosotras (a group of seven emerging international women artists based in London, who recently showed at the Lee Vidan Gallery in Seoul, Korea) and screening at London multimedia events.

Lupe Nunez-Fernandez