September 21, 2015

Time / Image

Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston
Lorraine O’Grady, The First and Last of the Modernists, Diptych 3 Blue (Charles and Michael), 2010. Two Fujiflex prints, each 46 3/4 x 37 3/8 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York. © Lorraine O’Grady / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Time / Image gathers work by eleven artists who render time perceptible as an expansive medium for play and for serious political imagination. They seek out and develop temporal strategies of representation, whether in cinematic images that revive ghostly residues, in image juxtapositions that propose unexpected alignments, or in experiments with the time-bending properties of their materials.

Time / Image includes works by Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons.

Time / Image borrows its title and, loosely, its philosophical framework from Gilles Deleuze, who developed the concept of “the time-image” to describe a consequence of the profound effects he felt post-World War II cinema had on viewers’ perception of time. Through formal techniques such as cutting, montage, and repetition, cinema for Deleuze revealed time to be a tangible and active force with the potential to reach beyond the movie theater and into audiences’ experiences of the world at large. Time / Image presents a contribution to the conversation Deleuze initiated, shifting focus to contemporary practices concerned with time’s impression in view of other forces.

Many of the artists in Time / Image offer fresh critiques of modern consciousness of time as linear and progressive, while displaying profound affinities with the temporal experimentation undertaken by prominent modernist figures. Examples include Isaac Julien’s references to Michel Leiris and André Gide in his major film installation Fantôme Afrique (2005), Lorraine O’Grady’s invocation of Charles Baudelaire in her photo diptychs The First and Last of the Modernists (2010), and Allan deSouza’s video redraft in Ark of Martyrs (2014) of Joseph Conrad’s British colonial-era novella Heart of Darkness.

Other artists use their materials to shape time itself as a medium in which an infinite number of contingent and simultaneous temporalities become viable, from Siemon Allen’s sculptures and wall pieces made of cut and woven film or VHS tape to A Lexicon of Dusk (2009–15), a durational performance by Ruth Robbins using iPhone captures to propose a new temporal vocabulary.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Kara Keeling, Amy L. Powell, Raqs Media Collective, and Jeannine Tang. Along with illuminating the works in the exhibition, the publication will survey critical temporal interventions in film and video by John Akomfrah, Black Audio Film Collective, Robert Bresson, Cecilia Dougherty, Andrea Geyer, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Chris Marker, The Otolith Group, Raoul Peck, Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), Hito Steyerl, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Both venues will present dedicated screening programs featuring selected works drawn from this discussion.

Time / Image is organized by Blaffer Art Museum and conceived by Amy L. Powell, curator of modern and contemporary art at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at Blaffer Art Museum. It is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and Major Exhibition Fund patrons Jim Petersen, Jr., Leslie and Brad Bucher, Vitol, Inc., and the Nightingale Code Foundation. Additional funding comes from the Cecil Amelia Blaffer von Furstenberg Endowment for Exhibitions and Programs, the Houston Endowment Inc., the Anchorage Foundation, BP Corporation North America, Inc., Joanne Guest Wilson, the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Jo and Jim Furr Exhibition Endowment at Blaffer Art Museum, and the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation.

Press contact: Devon Britt-Darby, T +713 743 9528 / [email protected]

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