Natascha Sadr Haghighian at Carroll / Fletcher, London
In a radical departure from her usual practice of site-specific projects, Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s first solo exhibition in London is a selection of works from the last fifteen years. She describes her work as a continual process of interrogation and unhinging of sociopolitical hierarchies and conventions; of seeking to defrock and de-stabilise systems of representation and authority. By placing the works alongside each other for the first time, Sadr Haghigian draws out new perspectives and connects the various debates and questions raised by them over the years.
In her exhibition for Carroll / Fletcher, Sadr Haghighian’s richly detailed, collaborative investigations, utilise a wide variety of media, such as video, slide projection, sound, websites, photography, and actions, to explore issues as diverse as the control and manipulation of the world’s scarce resources; consumerism and corporatism; identity, power and class; and the structures and rituals of the professional art world.
de Paso (2011-12) – originally a site-specific commission for MACBA in Barcelona – has been re-contextualised to investigate the impact of the European Union’s deregulation of the aviation industry in 1992 and the connections to the history of London’s water supplies.
For unternehmen: Bermuda (2000), Sadr Haghighian relocated the jury meeting for the Ars Viva Award – granted by the Cultural Circle of the Federation of German Industries – to a bus stop in Berlin Mitte situated in the middle of a triangle demarcated by three important institutions of art and science. The meeting became a collective performance around the rituals of knowledgeand image-transfer, during which the artist gave a lecture, applied a drawing to the information panel at the bus stop, and handed out slide iewers from a metal suitcase. The entire situation was filmed and photographed by an ‘under-cover agent’ from across the street.
In The Microscope (2006) the eyepiece of a microscope from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) is replaced by a speaker emitting a synthesized vocoder version of Every Breath You Take. Adjacent to the microscope, a booklet details a conversation between Sadr Haghighian and Evelyn Fox-Keller, professor of History and Philosophy of Science at MIT and author of The Biological Gaze (in which Fox-Keller examines how concepts of looking generate what the scientist actually sees under the microscope). The conversation discusses the construction of reality based on what one sees with the mind’s rather than the body’s eye.
The show also includes the research for Trail (2012), Sadr Haghighian’s participation in dOCUMENTA (13), supported by Carroll / Fletcher. For this project, she constructed a footpath on a slope made of debris from World War II, parallel to the Ehrenmal, a monumental staircase that connects the park to the city centre and commemorates the German soldiers who died in both world wars. As the visitor descends the trail, onomatopoeic animal sounds in different languages emanate from nearby trees and bushes. The sounds were recorded with residents of Kassel. d13trail.de is a webbased trail that accompanies the physical one.
until 14 September 2012
Courtesy of Carroll / Fletcher, London