A NEW Towner exhibition of world-class contemporary art opens this weekend exploring ‘the edge in landscape’ – between different environments, natural or constructed frontiers, or social and political boundaries – and the journeys or endeavours by which such ‘edges’ are transgressed (July 13-September 30).
The exhibition comprises recent purchases for the Towner Collection, acquired through Art Fund International, which will be unveiled for the first time – including two pieces by Yael Bartana and João Penalva which have never before been shown in the UK.
The theme was inspired by Towner’s position at the end of the UK and the edge of the South Downs National Park, where the white cliffs of Beachy Head form a sudden and heart-stopping edge to the land.
Yael Bartana’s two-channel video installation Summer Camp (2007) is shown within a structure derived from the Assembly Hall in which propaganda films and lectures were presented in Israel’s early years.
Previously shown at documenta 12, MoMA PS1 in New York and in Israel, and winner of the Artes Mundi 2010, the work is presented in the UK for the first time.
Bartana’s film documents the fourth summer camp of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, in which Palestinians, Israelis and other nationalities worked together to rebuild a house destroyed by the Israeli authorities.
Mario Garcia Torres’ 16mm film My Westphalia Days (2008) reconstructs an intriguing moment in conceptual art history.
Conceptual artist Michael Asher has presented a commonplace caravan as an artwork at the Sculpture Project Munster since its inception in 1977, but in 2007, the caravan mysteriously disappeared before being discovered four days later on the outskirts of the city, bearing no traces of its abduction.
Garcia Torres’s fragmentary, open-ended road movie proposes a fiction around these missing days.
Cartier Award winner João Penalva‘s video projection The Roar Of The Lions (2007) was filmed in Berlin during the long, cold winter of 2005 at the frozen lake Grunewaldsee, a location with Holocaust associations.
Eugenio Dittborn paints, photographically prints, silkscreens and embroiders onto lightweight fabric, and then folds the material for travel in cardboard airmail envelopes.
Through their journeys and the messages contained within, 3 Airmail Paintings (1986-2011) provide an alternative perspective to Chile’s history of colonial rule and Pinochet’s dictatorship, while connecting with contemporary art movements that recover the complexity of local histories and give voice to suppressed perspectives. The works have a delicate, vulnerable and transitory quality, redolent of the information they convey.