Helsinki

PUBLICS COUPLING: Maryam Jafri & Dave McKenzie

PUBLICS COUPLING: Maryam Jafri & Dave McKenzie

PUBLICS

Sep

02

Thu

11:00 – 15:00

7–9°C

broken clouds

PUBLICS COUPLING with Maryam Jafri & Dave McKenzie
26 Aug – 19 Sept 2021

Exhibition open:
Mon-Wed: By appointment
Thur–Fri: 1–5pm
Sat–Sun: 12–3pm

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Coupling is a new series of curatorial projects, collaborations, pairings, initiated by PUBLICS, where two artists/ practitioners are introduced to one another for the first time and show together because of some common concerns within their practices. For this first edition, two solo shows by two internationally renowned artists Maryam Jafri and Dave McKenzie are in dialogue, co-mingling with each other. The artists both juxtapose text and image in similar ways to dissect their collective, political, and personal meanings. Each artist explores multiple forms of personal and ‘public address’ to make sense of how language, communication and the document are ever-shifting representational forms. This is the result of a new collaboration between PUBLICS and PALO art productions, who have co-produced Dave McKenzie’s work for the exhibition.

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In this exhibition, all four pieces from the Versus Series (2012-15) by artist Maryam Jafri are displayed together alongside the new correlated work (Dis)appearance Online (2021). Beginning with Getty vs. Ghana (2012), photographs become the battleground for conflicting histories and divergent ideological interests. Throughout each work, and in each case, the documentary image is a space of contested meanings.

The premise for Getty vs. Ghana began when the artist was browsing the Getty Images website. Here, the artist noticed how several historical photographs from Ghana were copyrighted by Getty Images. The artist had already seen these images in the archives of the Ghana Ministry of Information. The specific images claimed by both Ghana and Getty were actually images from Ghana independence day (March 6th, 1957) – documenting the first instance of liberation of sub-Saharan Africa from Western rule. Upon digging deeper, Jafri uncovered a trail of errors (wrong dates, incorrect captions) and manipulation of original photographs. Getty vs. Ghana takes the overlapping images in both image banks, one public, one private, one digital, one analog, and posits to expose contemporary concerns related to copyright, digitization, and the private ownership of both historical and national heritage.

Three further works from the same Versus series will be shown – Corbis vs. Mozambique (2012), Getty vs. Kenya vs. Corbis (2012) and Getty vs Musee Royal de l’Afrique Centrale vs DR Congo (2015).

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Dave McKenzie’s exhibition combines two distinct material elements; banners and letters, each employing words as personal and political forms that continually shift emphasis between direct and oblique meanings. McKenzie has been commissioned to make a series of five textile banners, four indoors and one outside, titled as Lower, Champions, Surpass, Wedge, and Willing. Each banner uses short post-scripted texts with and without images, expressing different modes of ‘public address’, mediated from a direct or prescriptive tone to more personal or ambiguous modes of exchange, interpretation, and distribution.

After this exhibition, McKenzie will continue to work at PUBLICS with a series of letters that are reminiscent of pen pal conversations, although in this case it is a one-way conversation. These letters are meant to be delivered to an unknown recipient, they are unsigned or seemingly anonymous, but express a number of things that McKenzie has been living with and thinking about during the course of the pandemic. In some ways the letters represent travel escape and the possibility of connecting during a time when connection is heavily mediated by technology and during a time when more normal togetherness is complicated by the need to physically distance.

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Maryam Jafri is an artist working across media and genres, including video, sculpture, performance, and photography. Informed by a research based, interdisciplinary process, her artworks are often marked by a visual language poised between film and theater and a series of narrative experiments oscillating between script and document, fragment and whole. She lives and works in New York and Copenhagen.

Dave McKenzie (b. 1977, Kingston, Jamaica) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. His solo museum exhibition “Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself” is currently presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art and runs parallel to his new Whitney-commissioned performance “Disturbing the View” (unti 14th of Oct 2021).

PUBLICS

Thu 02 Sep 2021 11:00 – 15:00

7–9°C

broken clouds

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Sturenkatu 37-41 4b,
Helsinki