Center for Tactical Magic
Jackie & Denise Chapwoman
Joao Maria Gusmao
Magic for some invites the creative agency of fantasy and illusion; for others it signals a licence to practice deception. Magic Show considers both these approaches, taking fiction and trickery to be intertwined, historically prevalent and culturally pivotal. The show considers how artists adopt the perception-shifting ploys of the theatrical magician to summon wonderment whilst simultaneously performing critique.
curated by Jonathan Allen and Sally O'Reilly
Magic Show Artists: Jonathan Allen, Archive (Anne Walsh & Chris Kubik), Zoë Beloff, Joan Brossa, Rick Buckley, Brian Catling, Center for Tactical Magic, Jackie & Denise Chapwoman, Jem Finer & Ansuman Biswas, Tom Friedman, Brian Griffiths, Colin Guillemet, Susan Hiller, Alexandra Hopf, Janice Kerbel, Christian Jankowski, Annika Lundgren, Juan Muñoz, Bruce Nauman, Pedro Paiva & João Maria Gusmão, Ian Saville, Ariel Schlesinger, Suzanne Treister, Sinta Werner
Magic for some invites the creative agency of fantasy and illusion; for others it signals a licence to practice deception. ‘Magic Show’ considers both these approaches, taking fiction and trickery to be intertwined, historically prevalent and culturally pivotal.
The show considers how artists adopt the perception-shifting ploys of the theatrical magician to summon wonderment whilst simultaneously performing critique. Pedro Paiva & João Maria Gusmão, whose work appeared in the Portuguese Pavillion at the 2009 Venice Beinnale, approach filmmaking with anthropological curiosity, recording moments of extraordinary transformation in the natural and social realms they encounter. The LA based Center for Tactical Magic’s participatory projects call attention to mechanisms of surveillance and stealth within the fabric of society. Susan Hiller has collected photographs of people levitating that range from low-tech sham to the highly sophisticated ruse, while Bruce Nauman’s sceptical photographic documentation of a similar attempt shows him singularly failing to get off the ground.
The redirection or manipulation of credulity can also be employed in more ominous contexts. In her ‘Alchemy’ drawings Suzanne Treister attributes the visual language of mysticism to newspaper headlines and reportage; socialist magician Ian Saville uses humour and spectacle to illuminate capitalism’s more troubling subterfuges, and German artist, Christian Jankowski, asks cable television fortune-tellers about the success of his future career. In an archive comprising props and ephemera from the theatrical magic world, the stage magician steps into the arena of politics. The evangelist magician simulates the religious miracle through illusion and stagecraft, while the archetypal gentleman in top hat and tails becomes a cipher of duplicity for the satirical cartoonist. Through such divisive applications and emotive manipulations, we find that magic, like art, thrives in the gap between representation and misrepresentation.
‘Magic Show’ comprises work by 24 international artists across media, as well as an archive of artefacts from the theatrical magic world. The exhibition is augmented by a programme of film and video screenings, live performances and a full-colour catalogue with newly commissioned texts by writers from the art and magic communities.
A Hayward Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre.
Exhibition opening event: Friday 27th November 2009 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm, with a performance by Ian Saville. Ian Saville presents his socialist magic and ventriloquism. Whereas David Copperfield is content with little tricks like making the Statue of Liberty disappear, Ian Saville aims at the much more ambitious goal of making International Capitalism and exploitation disappear. See him transform the prevailing conditions, if only for a little while.
QUAD is Derby’s new centre for art and film, on the Market Place in Derby city centre. QUAD is a gallery, cinema, café bar and workshop that anyone can use.
QUAD is a partnership between Derby City Council, Arts Council England, EM Media, European Union, East Midlands Development Agency, Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership, Derby City Partnership and Derby Cityscape.
See http://www.derbyquad.co.uk for more information.
For further information on this event, or any other issue relating to QUAD, please contact Kathy Frain on 01332 285422 (mobile 07791441941) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening event Friday 27th November 2009 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm
QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby
Opening times: 11:00am to 6:00pm (except Sunday opening at 12 noon)