Date(s) - 26/04/2019 - 15/06/2019
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Project Arts Centre
Exhibition Opening: 25 April 6 – 8pm
Internationally-acclaimed and widely exhibited since the 1990s, Roee Rosen is an artist, filmmaker and writer. Rosen has employed numerous real and fictive personae, hybridised narratives and paradoxical stories in order to provocatively address: the instrumentalisation and ritualisation of history and historical trauma; the complex relationship of collective and personal histories; and the politics of identity. Intertwining and transforming source materials drawn from popular media, political propaganda, the history of the avant-garde, comics, and classic children’s fairy tales, Rosen’s richly referential narratives employ various styles of humour and irony, challenging and transgressing normative canons and protocols. In recent years, his practice as an artist and writer has become increasingly aware of current dilemmas regarding artistic autonomy, and the growing tendencies of oversimplification and stereotyping.
Exorcisms, Rosen’s first solo exhibition in Ireland, negotiates alternate forms and practices of devotion, possession and politicised demonology. It presents Out / (Tse), his 2010 film in which the antagonistically different political statements of two activists unfold in an erotic BDSM (domination/submission) session, set in a mundane living room. The central scene explicitly presents the meeting of pain with sexual pleasure, but the submissive responds to the blows verbally, emitting sentences that were originally uttered by Avigdor Lieberman, an extreme right-wing Israeli politician. Thus, an erotic performance turns into a political exorcism. This doubling of voice, and through it the staging of an ambivalence towards the erotic and the political, the fictive and the real, is a mechanism that Rosen often activates across diverse forms. ‘Tse’ ends with an homage by the artist to the late Serbian film director Dusan Makavejev’s 1971 film WR, The Mystery of the Organism, with Rosen perversely reenacting the final scene. An investigation into the life and work of the controversial psychologist, sexologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich, WR is a political and moral satire about politics and transgressive sexuality, made from a collage of documentary and fictional elements.
Exorcisms also presents a selection of works by a diasporic (and fictive) collective of ex-Soviet artists, performers, musicians and writers. The Buried Alive Group was founded by the Russian poet and artist Efim Poplavsky (1978-2011), who immigrated to Tel Aviv in the early 2000s and made work under the pseudonym Maxim Komar-Myshkin. The installation features Vladimir’s Night (2011–14), an album of verse and 39 gouaches, which was Komar-Myshkin’s magnum opus, produced in secrecy and discovered after his suicide. In this book, which is described by Rosen as a ‘hybrid of a children’s book, a gory martyrdom and a twisted political treatise’, animated objects come to life in order to torture and execute Vladimir Putin. The paranoiac mindset of the imagery yields an excessive matrix of images that link financial transactions with political structure, Russian medieval art with children’s literature, and the post-Soviet forms of power with the massive wave of immigration it brought to the middle-east. The collective’s manifesto is also included as well as The Buried Alive Videos (2013), a compilation of video works supposedly produced by the group, a series of perfectly built social satires which target consumer fetishism, media-manipulation and political violence. Finally, Exorcisms features The Dust Channel (2016), a film operetta whose Russian libretto explores purification and the hysterical fear of dirt. Produced for Documenta 14 – Learning From Athens, the absurd and politically incisive plot features a ‘Dyson DC07’ vacuum cleaner and a bourgeois Israeli couple as its main protagonists. While the libretto tries to breathe life into the vacuum cleaner by telling its history (and that of James Dyson, British billionaire inventor with a fair share of controversy around him in relation to xenophobic comments), the protagonists seem perversely invested in their relationship with their cleaner, and with the particles it sucks. Through this juxtaposition, the film addresses pressing societal issues such as xenophobia and the highly controversial legislation around migration and asylum seeking.
Roee Rosen, ‘Historical Joke # 3’ / The Buried Alive Group, video, 36:30 min, 2013 (still)
Courtesy Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv