Curated by Aischa Berg
You whistle in the dark to courageously confront an imaginary incertitude. The sound is extending, resonating out of your body while you try and overcome your doubts in the hope that it will turn out well. However, instead of finding shelter, you are exposed in a maze. You might approach a situation with limited understanding or no awareness of its potential results. You talk about matters although lacking sufficient knowledge of them. What will happen if we decide to face the figments of this uncertainty? The uncertainty of knowing what is real…
Moving through time and space, on a continuous quest … artists from other parts of the world come to reside and work here in Beirut for a couple of months or even years …also those artists born and raised in Lebanon … or those who after years return to the country of their origin. What are their linking forces? Whistling in the Dark opens up a dialogue between some of them and seeks new points of entry to their works.
The exhibited artists investigate and raise questions concerning history and reality.
In this quest, the medium of recording in all its varieties becomes an indispensable asset. Recordings are traces. A sound piece, a videotape and a drawing convey an image of truth. Is a stone also a container of traces,
of time and history?
Workshop gallery is a new contemporary art exhibition space of 16m2 located in the suburbs of Beirut, platform for emerging Lebanese and international artists.
In her practice, Brennan starts out from research projects, like an investigative journalist. In the work on display, Brennan was fascinated by geology and its sense of discovery, similar to an artist’s approach to the production of work. What started as a research into the oil-bearing rocks of beaches in Dorset, England, evolved into the uncovering of the work of geologist Vic Colter, who never received any credit for the discovery of the major oil field at Wytch farm in Dorset as Thatcher’s government immediately privatized it. As the scientist did not allow any recordings of Brennan’s encounters with him at his private house, filled with 2000 million-year-old fossils and rocks in the midst of a meticulously furnished modernist interior, she developed a work that gave a sense of these encounters. In the video that is reflected upon car oil, we see a zoom in and out of a million-year-old core sample presented to her at the geologist’s home. The video screened on the window shows a rock, almost oil, lit on fire; burning, it reveals what it is made of, namely condensed matter. These bits of material encompass the whole of history: rock as the container of history and the physicalization of time. In her practice, Brennan seeks a material understanding of the world and history.
Maeve Brennan graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2012. Recent exhibitions include: Beit Iksa Boys, Institute of Jamais Vu, London, 2013; Members Show, Outpost, Norwich, 2012; Graduate Screening, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2012; Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto, 2012. She was the recipient of the 2011 Hamad Butt Memorial Prize and the 2012 Nicolas and Andrei Tooth Travelling Scholarship. She is currently taking part in the Home Workspace Program 2013-14 at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut.
Maeve Brennan’s work explores sites, fig- ures and objects that condense something of their social, historical and political context. Drawn to politically charged spaces of industry, production and conflict, Brennan adopts an investi- gative approach, allowing intimate encounters and personal narrative to inform her research. Using the tension between the personal and the political, she produces a form of evidence bound up in subjectivity.