The Judgment is the Mirror is a group exhibition with Tiong Ang, Clodagh Emoe, Jan Kaila, Japo Knuutila, Roger Palmer and Mick Wilson. The exhibition, curated by Henk Slager, addresses the potentialities of visual languages that critically investigate in what way the other or alterity can be imagined as agonistic judgment while the mirror of identification of the Lacanian symbolic order still hovers in the background.
Central themes in Tiong Ang‘s artistic thinking are collective memory, exclusion, localization and globalization. His work Pavilion of Distance deals with states of consciousness and the human body as the reluctant container of the manipulativeness of the media world. Tiong Ang shows how the media not only denotes our concept of reality but also affects our perceptions of places and events.
Clodagh Emoe‘s research project Mystical Anarchism tries to mobilize novel formations of artistic thought through affect. Drawing on strategies associated with rituals, the framework of events emerges as a paradigm where normative structures could be symbolically suspended. Specific objects such as platforms and banners are created and function in staging those events. The objects demarcate temporary forms of gathering and attest to the potential of collective imagining.
Historical archives and found objects, with the silent knowledge they contain, are central to the work of conceptual artist Jan Kaila. He does not present these imageries as such, though, but interprets them photographically as moving images or installations. Through his interpretation, Kaila shows in the work The Sleepers a new aesthetic and intellectual vantage to already established facts.
A similar strategy, albeit from another medial perspective, can be found in the work of Mick Wilson. His audio recordings rework familiar religious sources and hymns. There is an apparent attempt in the work Around the Food Thing to rethink and re-use—from an atheistic perspective and from the political possibility of counter-imagination—the languages of and the longings for transcendence inscribed in these sources.
Roger Palmer deploys historical events as source material. In his works, he observes the viewers’ relationship to language and images. Palmer uses various materials: photographs, paintings, texts, and sculptural elements. The distance, provided by history, turns Palmer’s installation … the ship was jammed between high rocks… into a space for different allegories and unknown stories where all phenomena connected with life are in a process-like movement.
In his research project Situation in Osh, photographer Japo Knuutila studies globalization and our chances to act as humans. In the past decades, Knuutila has worked on different borderlands: ports, closed industrial areas, freighters. The current work speaks in a language characteristic of media imagery. Knuutila’s images do not visualize reality, they discuss the possibilities of language and interpretation, as well as the grey area of absence/presence and inclusion/exclusion.
As an exhibition, The Judgment is the Mirror shows a mutually inspiring interaction between different forms of artistic language, historical narratives, and medium-specific reflections by criticizing reductive iconographies and archival reason while subsequently offering alternative forms of artistic thinking and counter-imagination.
That interaction indicates exactly the junction where a topical art education and its responsibilities should be situated. During a forum at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, the participating artists will delve further into how and why the above problematics should be part of the institutional framework of the art academy today.
The title of the project is derived from Dali’s Car’s album The Waking Hour (1984).
The Judgment is the Mirror is also made possible by FRAME (Helsinki), Mondriaan Fund (Amsterdam), Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (Helsinki), GradCAM (Dublin), University of Macau (China) and University of Leeds (Leeds).