This proposal was created and submited for Apexart 2018’s Open Call.


right after truth 

Artists: Yngve Holen, Martin Puryear, Michael Sailstofer, Jose Davila, Chris Burden, Randi Renate, Richard Wentwort, Faig Ahmed, Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago Mata Machado.

The exhibition “right after truth” challenges its visitors to look twice and perceive what happens when one engages with an object, idea or image for longer than a click on a social media feed. What are the benefits of looking for longer? When our reality is that news, family photos and internet memes are showed – and consumed – with the same intensity and engagement.

The journalist and historian Sarah Schulman explores in her recent book “Conflict is Not Abuse” (2016) the consequences of perceptions during conflict (power struggle) and abuse (power over) with the emerge – across the western world – of a society that is “overstating harm, responding to any perceived contradiction with an immediate claim of innocence rather than engaging in debate”. 

The truth is that all is becoming a dichotomy: left and right, remain and BREXIT, equal and enemy. In this scenario, the society is split between poles that infuriate itself with any given action from the other, taking this quick truth as final. Art being then a challenge, contemplation upon artworks serving as an enabler of reflection. 

Patrick Blanchfield (journalist) in his article “Thoughts and Prayers” (2017) points the fact that Trump’s statements of “Pure Evil” whilst referring to 2017’s Texas mass shooting “turns what should be a political problem into a metaphysical one”. The exhibition works in an opposite direction: bringing metaphysically to reduce distance in political discourses and becomes a mediator of different receptors of the same given experience by the artworks. 

The show decontextualises art pieces from diverse backgrounds and singular narratives to engage the audience in moving from first impression conclusions to more reflective and prolonged states. 

The piece by Richard Wentwort (The Warwick Dials, 2000) suggests a reflection on time itself, moving to more clear allegories of political conflict in Michael Sailstofer (P 99, 2016) where a muzzle props out of the wall as a trophy head or as if aiming to the viewer. Jose Davila (Promise of a Better World, 2010) brings to the gallery walls framed by neon lights in a clear allusion to barriers and isolation. And in one exemplar of Chris Burden’s L.A.P.D Uniforms from 1993 one could discuss the relations between policy force as an agent of protection to some, and aggression to others. Other works take the stand to also suggest reflections on religion, aesthetics, power, and contemplation.

The final work on the exhibition is Yngve Holen (Hater Headlight, 2015) that physically casts lights over the audience and observes with even more intensity that it is observed. A concurrently mechanical and human figure that if observed long enough will cause a flash blindness in the final moments of the show. 

The exhibition instigates a long-lasting discussion not only on political and social themes but also in the debate and analysis process itself.