Rosalind Nashashibi, “The Painter and the Deliveryman” at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp
Renée, Philip, Chris—three characters, entangled across two synchronized films, and projected on two constructed surfaces. “The Painter and the Deliveryman” is a solo exhibition of new work by Rosalind Nashashibi. And she, like Objectif Exhibitions itself, is one of the characters on loop.
Nashashibi intended both films to be screened in the basement. Their bifocal ping ponging aids their implicit entanglements, and their subterranean remove allows the vacant entry hall, courtyard, office, and ground floor to serve their functions as mnemonic thoroughfares on the way out.
In The Deliveryman (2013), a package arrives in the office. A generic white male arts administrator speaks in English, and a hurried DHL worker responds in Flemish. Yet communication occurs less via spoken language than embodied signals—a scrawled signature, codified behavioral cues, context, uniforms, and so on. Upon this double receipt, however, the deliveryman breaks uniform and a different expression crystallizes in the courtyard.
Meanwhile, in Basel, the painter’s studio is similarly infiltrated. An artist is at work in The Painter (2013)—uniformed elegantly in paint-splattered shoes and work-wear—yet another unseen artist is observing, directing, framing off-screen. Nashashibi films more than the work itself, and large, muscular, abstract paintings emerge from a combination of energetic and economic gestures. With unflinching pragmatism, the painter pushes and pours muted viscous matter, surprisingly, with a mop. Eventually, the focus shifts to a drawing of a smiling girl atop a horse—tail raised, issuing a pile of dung. It’s by the painter’s daughter.
Production and discharge, anxiety, pleasure—relief. In either film, or in their tertiary combination, the various forms of expression are, in the end, pre-verbal. A messenger interrupted. A painter wielding a mop. And yet, however non-diegetic, Nashashibi’s distinct voice resounds, as she grapples with her own complex position in all of this.
until 18 January 2014
Rosalind Nashashibi, “The Painter and the Deliveryman” installation view at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, 2013
Courtesy: Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp. Photo: Isabelle Arthuis.