Power, time, gravity, love. The forces that really kick ass are all invisible. –David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
Sabrina Amrani Gallery presents Measuring the Immeasurable, a group exhibition of works that attempt to describe and gauge certain phenome- na that are often intangible, yet real and perceivable. The artists in this exhibition share a desire to uncover our innate and common need to define that which cannot be defined through traditional means.
Just as science is driven by a wish to reveal and explain certain obser- vable mysteries, art has often been a means to reflect on the sublime, on that moment when our observation gives way to an impending sense of a magnitude beyond the limits of our senses. Since the 18th century the Sublime has been a category explored by artists concer- ned with this discrepancy between our desire to measure and unders- tand, and the thrill we feel when we comprehend that what we see is in fact unmeasurable. We use the verbs "to see" and "to feel" as synonyms of understanding, but we also know implicitly that our senses are only ever partial and imperfect channels to the physical world that surrounds us.
The exhibition opens with a diptych by Ignasi Aballí, Algo / Nada, a work that uses the simplest mechanism to draw attention to the infinitesimal yet transformative shift that turns nothing into something. In two works from his Listados series he has isolated all the 'isms' from the newspapers he often uses as source material, and rearranged them into a great index. The resulting compendium is a metaphor for our need to identify and classify ideas and ideologies through language, thus limiting and controlling their meaning while also examining notions of reality by taking words from daily news journals.
Mounir Fatmi's work Casablanca Circles presents a photograph, an iconic still frame from a scene in the classic movie Casablanca where Bogart and Bergman are poised to kiss. The photo is overlaid with Cartesian diagrams of tangent circles originally studied and used to design the atomic bomb, pointing to the contradiction between the rational need to organize and mathematically plot movements, and the often unexpected consequences of our actual desires and actions. This moment before the kiss, the instance before atoms collide, a continuous build-up of both events is frozen before our eyes.
In William Lamson's video Between Now and Forever we see a tire rolling through a desert landscape at dawn. It offers a meditation on time and space and the often imperceptible forces that move within them. As the tire continues to push forward towards a slowly rising sun, we are mesmerized by this simple motion and reflect on the invisible force that continues to propel it—the wind—in search of something new and unknown.
Johan Thurfjell also captures the passage of time and light in his Varnish Paintings 1/4 12:20, 31/4 12:28, and 31/3 13:43. In these delicate works he applied varnish on vellum to record the transitory effects of light passing on the walls of his studio. The individual pain- tings are titled with the precise date and time of the event, creating a kind of calendar of individual moments, never to be repeated or perceived the same way twice.
Three Ayesha Jatoi's text-based drawings in the tradition of Persian miniature painting explore themes of prayer, place, and desire. Jatoi transposes scenes from classical miniatures into minimalist composi- tions of line and text. By translating once-elaborate paintings into terse phrases, Jatoi layers ancient narratives with contemporary language, giving them an anachronistic twist. A lady awaits her lover in the forest and Gopis in search of Krishna depict only minimal lines, letters and numbers, erasing all visual cues and allowing the mind create its own image while also make its own meaning from each piece. How does one measure the weight of yearning and seeking, whether alone or in group, for one's lover or for one's god?
Amélie Bouvier explores the politics of contemporary surveillance and warfare in her series Knock on the Roof in which she uses 'plotting tables' and diagrams inspired by tactical warfare devices to create geometric diagrams that while apparently innocuous, can also refer to drone warfare and 'roof knocking', a term used by the Israeli military to warn inhabitants of an impending bomb strike. The precision of her geometric compositions are here given a more sinister overtone by the suspicion that what is being measured is not merely aesthetic but also vital. Literally the fine line between life and death.
Since antiquity dissection has been a way of trying to understand the mysteries of the human body and soul. The desire to look inside and analyze bodies is key to our conception of the scientific method. Enzo Mianes takes a modest 50 gram plumb line and slices it in Objet Tranché + restes, presenting the resulting slices in glass frames for our analysis, while a pile of shavings on a scale represents the residue from this process. The apparent absurdity of looking at the precise dissection of a measuring device in order to see its 'soul' is balanced by the extreme aesthetic beauty of the object and its presentation.
About the Curator
Iciar Sagarminaga (Washington DC, EEUU, 1977) lives and works in Madrid. Her recent projects include the group exhibition Always the Horizon at Max Estrella Gallery in Madrid, the solo exhibition of Sandra Gamarra's Squaring the Circle at Studio Sandra Recio in Geneva, Switzerland, the group exhibition En Obras at Jose de la Fuente Gallery in Santander, Spain Sobrescrituras at the OTR art space in Madrid, and the solo exhibition of Laura Hensley Read through the green fuse at Civilian Art Projects in Washington, DC.
Amélie Bouvier (Paris, 1982) is currently based in Brussels and Lisbon. She has had several international solo exhibitions at Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels, Museo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid, Spain, at Javier Silva Gallery in Valladolid, Spain, at Eternal Network Gallery in Tours, France, and at Carpe Diem, Arte e Pesquisa in Lisbon, Portugal. She has participated in international group exhibitions at Verbeke Foundation in Belgium, Casa de la Parra in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Museu da Cidade in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work was been included in the 16th Bienal de Cerveira and in the 6th Bienale de Sçao Tomé e Principe. She was named the best emerging artist at the Just Mad Fair in Madrid, one of the finalist for the CIC'Art Prize, and was awarded the Audience Award in a competition of young artists in Saint-Remy, France. She also collaborates with the interdependent art initiative Enough Room for Space in Brussels.
Mounir Fatmi (Tangier, Morocco 1970) is based in Paris. He has exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, such as the Migros Museum für Gegenwarskunst, Zürich, Switzerland, the Picasso Museum, the FRAC Alsace, Sélestat, the Contemporary Art Center Le Parvis, the Fondazione Collegio San Caro, Modena, the AK Bank Foundation in Istanbul, and at the Museum Kunst Palast in Duesseldorf. His group exhibitions include the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris,The Brooklyn Museum, New York, N.B.K., Berlin, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, the Hayward Gallery, London, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He has participated in the 52nd and 54th Venice Biennial, the 8th biennial of Sharjah, the 5th and 7th Dakar Biennial, the 5th Gwangju Biennial, the 10th Lyon Biennial, and the 5th Auckland Triennial.
William Lamson (Arlington, Virginia, USA 1977) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, including the Brooklyn Musuem, The Moscow Biennial, P.S.1. MOMA, Kunsthalle Erfurt, the Musuem of Contempo- rary Art, Denver, and Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles. In addition he has produced site specific installations for the Indianapolis Musuem of Art, the Center For Land Use Interpretation, and Storm King Art Center. His work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Musuem of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and a number of private collections. He has been awarded grants from the Shifting Foundation, the Experi- mental Television Center, and most recently he is 2014 Guggenheim Fellow.
Enzo Mianes (Toulouse, France, 1988) lives and works in Paris and is currently completing his studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He has exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Project Room at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Metz, France, at Christo-Salvador Gallery in Havana, Cuba, Vortex in Dijon, France, 26 boulevard Voltaire in Paris, France, and the Chateau de la Roche- Guyon, France.
Johan Thurfjell (Solna, Sweden, 1970) currently lives and works in Stockholm. He has had international solo exhibitions at Galerie Nord- enhake in Stockholm and Berlin, the Uppsala Konstmuseum in Upp- sala, Sweden, the Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, the Stoc- kholm Konsthall, and Färgfabriken in Stockholm. His group exhibitions include the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork, Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, 21c Museum in Louisville, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Signal Malmö, Norrköpings Konstmuseum, and Dunkers Kulturhaus in Helsingborg, and has participated in the Nordic Biennial of Contempo- rary Art. He was honored with an award from the Marianne and Sigvard Bernadottes Artist Fund.
Press release courtesy Sabrina Amrani.