December 3, 2021–January 7, 2022
Participating artists: Marie-Louise Ekman, Olafur Eliasson, Miki Kratsman, Klara Lidén, Rithika Merchant, Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers, Anne Samat
Art has a way of turning established truths into open questions, paving the way for new ways of thinking, and helping us achieve new levels of knowledge. The exhibition Mentors, which is curated by Sandra Weil, represents CFHILL’s ambition to present the works of eight different artists–eight different options–in such a way that our points of view might be reset, and we might be made receptive to something else. Artists as, possibly, the most significant mentors of our age.
To be a mentor means to be an experienced individual, generously sharing your knowledge with others. In 2016, CFHILL had another exhibition with the same title. That show was curated by New York-based Richard Herron, who brought us a group exhibition in which he united the surviving pioneers of the Act Now movement with artists from subsequent generations whose practices and careers had been informed by them. Act Now was a movement that sought to raise awareness about AIDS in the mid-80s, as Reagan’s silence grew increasingly deafening in the face of the mounting death toll. In this edition of Mentors, however, what we encounter is, rather, eight individual oeuvres, hailing from very different parts of the world and incorporating diverse practices, to the point where it they could be said to represent different universes. Our mentors.
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has already conquered an entire world with his anarchistic, yet intuitively graspable interventions. Here, he shows his intricate light installation Your unpredictable sameness, in which the movement of the mechanical arms produces a new, unpredictable, and violent play with light. New York-based but Stockholm-born Klara Lidén’s contribution addresses the most democratically impactful urban symbols of our time: traffic obstructions. From the million-headed Women’s March to antifascist protests, Greta Tunberg’s demonstrations to anti-vaccine and Trump supporter rallies, our democratic, public space has been filled to the brim of late. Lidén turns them all into contemporary icons, or scarabs. The Gee’s Bend artist collective, who are descendants of slaves who lived in the American South, and have taken their name from a town that holds great significance for the civil rights movement. Together, they revisit their relatives’ traditional quilting techniques to create advanced, abstract compositions. Marie-Louise Ekman’s oeuvre, which covers over half a century of work, continues to break new ground today, and shows no signs of losing steam. Her works from more recent years are just as immediate and innocent as ever, but they exhibit a brighter, more lyrical tone now, in terms of both visual expression and subject matter. In her lifetime, Rithika Merchant has witnessed the destruction of sixty per cent of the green land. Miki Kratsman’s photographs show us the faces of the conflict in the Middle East, in a series of portraits of Bedouins who have just been evicted from their homes in areas that have been designated forbidden territories. Kuala Lumpur-based Anne Samat, too, makes reference to traditional folklore and techniques in her hybrid tapestries, which look unlike anything else in this world. Finally, we’re very proud to be presenting a classic artwork by one of the most important drivers of the late 20th century paradigm shift in art, Barbara Kruger.
Sandra Weil, freelance curator based in Tel Aviv, revisits CFHILL for what will be her third exhibition here. Mentors, just like her past shows with us, Archeology of Utopia and All Movements have Memories, revolves around a core ethos of sincerity and taking an active stand, and sees the participating artists unite to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
– Text by Paulina Sokolow