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Exhibition | 9.sep.2010

NEW EXHIBITION IN X-RUMMET: Gerard Byrne: Related Works

The spring exhibition in x-rummet at Statens Museum for Kunst moves out of its usual setting and into the main museum collections. The Irish artist Gerard Byrne has created ”Related Works”, a site-specific exhibition which explores and enters into a dialogue with the museum’s permanent exhibit.

Gerard Byrne in x-rummet: Related Works
Statens Museum for Kunst 5 April - 3 August 2008


Gerard Byrne (b. 1969) has worked with film, video, and photography for many years. By recycling and re-producing a wide range of materials, mainly culled from popular culture and its media, his works present an original approach to investigating how narratives are constructed and represented. Advertisements, interviews, and articles are reconstructed in front of the artist’s camera, creating a unique tension, an interspace between the staged and the authentic. In addition to the video installation *ZAN - *T185 r.1, originally presented at last year’s Venice Biennial, the x-rummet exhibition also shows a range of new photographic pieces and an all-new video piece which enters into a dialogue with the museum collections, staging a re-telling of a specially selected section. 

The collapse of time
Can the ‘now’ be captured in pure, unadulterated form? More than any other medium, photography and documentary film have held a special status in our collective minds; they are seen as offering the possibility of an objective, credible record of the world as it is. After all, the camera is, by its nature, impersonal. It operates directly, without delays or displacements, and as such it can show the ‘now’ before any interpretative substrata can embed themselves.

Challenging such assumptions, Gerard Byrne turns the camera lens against the camera itself, as it were. Or, more precisely, towards the hidden structures and constructs that undershore and dictate any attempt at retelling the present, regardless of the medium employed. By reproducing existing materials from e.g. magazines, journals, and film, Byrne’s works create various subtle displacements of time and media. Thus, Byrne explores what happens when a material is ‘translated’ from one time into another, from one medium to another. Time seems to collapse, and the works lays bare the underlying constructs within the representation. However, Byrne’s pieces never impose conclusions. Rather, his works point toward a more complex picture of the world; more complex than our attempts at narrating and retelling can encompass.

Warhol and Smithson revisited
The exhibition’s two video-based pieces see Byrne taking two other artists as his point of departure: Andy Warhol and Robert Smithson. Not as a nostalgic reminiscence, nor as an homage to two icons of recent US art. Quite the opposite: What Byrne explores through reconstructions and stagings is the material of the original pieces itself – and how it can be made topical again. The video with the cryptic title *ZAN - *T185 r.1 reconstructs an interview with six hopeful actors originally conducted for Warhol’s magazine Interview in the 1970s, now re-enacted in front of Byrne’s camera by new, contemporary actors. The title refers to the microfilm, housed at New York Public Library, on which Byrne found the original material. The video Temporally Removed, created specifically for the exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst, documents the work undertaken by two conservators taking down and putting back up one of the museum’s works by Smithson (Untitled (Mica and Glas), 1968). During the exhibition period, Smithson’s work will be on display in the room next to x-rummet. Finally, Byrne’s photographic works for the exhibition were inspired by Gijsbrecht’s 17th century trompe l’oeil painting of the back of a painting. In his video works, and by photographing the Gijsbrecht piece and the backs of two other works, Byrne proposes a different way of relating to the art history represented by the museum collections.

About the artist
Gerard Byrne trained at e.g. National College of Art & Design in Dublin and the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York. His work has been extensively exhibited; his list of credits includes representing Ireland at the 2007 Venice Biennial. Byrne is also a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.

Companion book
To accompany the exhibition, Statens Museum for Kunst will publish a book featuring a major article by the Austrian art historian Barbara Clausen and an interview with Gerard Byrne conducted by the curator of the exhibition, museum inspector Marianne Torp. Price: DKK 49. The book will be available from the museum bookshop later this spring. 

Please note! For this exhibition, x-rummet has been moved to the centre of the museum’s permanent exhibit, occupying three rooms (206-208). 
Free admission.

Main sponsor of x-rummet: Nykredit

Updated: 7.jul.2014
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