Is politically motivated art on the minds of many art curators today? You may be forgiven for thinking so when you examine the current exhibitions across the capital. The latest of this kind comes from the Lisson Gallery: a group exhibition from its own artists dealing with religion, global trade and contested territories via a wealth of media. Political art may be the order of the day… and at TCé we’re feeling pretty inspired by it.
“Art is the stuff you can’t say,” believes Haroon Mirza, Northern Art prize winner, Lisson Gallery artist and the man whose art work gives the exhibition its title. His work, a video installation including the ritualistic sound of Kenyan men drumming during a Muslim wedding, and a student giving a speech, offers a sense of urgency that is unmistakably politically charged. His work in this instance addresses cultural difference, even amongst those who share the same faith. Here his work reveals two different Muslim populations and there different, contradictory beliefs (music is banned by some Muslim leaders).
In addition to Mirza, there are works from Broomberg and Chanarin, Allora and Calzadilla, Liu Xiaodong and Rashid Rana. Divine Violence from Broomberg and Chanarin features plates from the King James Bible, annotated à la Bertold Brecht and superimposed with imagery from the Archive of Modern Warfare. Artist duo Allora and Calzadilla tackle a contamination incident at a Puerto Rican GlaxoSmithKline factory in their 20-minute demolition video, complete with wrecking ball bell. Meanwhile, Xiaodong’s paintings depict mine workers in one of China’s most politically tense regions.
Needless to say, the exhibition contains some provocative stuff which the language of art addresses with a suitable, vital tone. Not to be missed. (Words: Laura Thornley)
From 30th January to 7th March. For more info visit: www.lissongallery.com/exhibitions/cross-section-of-a-revolution