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Exhibition: work by Jane and Louise Wilson


paradise row, jane and louise wilson, exibitionParadise Row presents ‘False Positives and False Negatives’, recent works by Jane and Louise Wilson.

This exhibition brings together several bodies of work, and explores the act of surveillance, considering its form and presence in spaces burdened by potent histories.

‘Face Scripting – What Did the Building See?’ is a two-part film installation surrounding the shadowy events of the 2010 assassination of a Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel room.

It has been constructed using the artists’ own film and real CCTV footage compiled and then released on YouTube by the UAE’s state police.

Alongside this work, a related series of screen prints ‘False Positives and False Negatives’ depict the Wilsons painted in dazzle-camouflage, a technique designed to scramble face-recognition technology employed by law-enforcement and security agencies.

Each print is overlaid with images taken from the hotel’s CCTV footage which captured the suspects.

Triggered by the movement of the viewer, ghostly spectres emerge and wane into the artists’ own mask-like portraits.

In ‘Atomgrad (Nature Abhors A Vacuum)’ large-scale photographs reveal abandoned interiors in Pripyat, the contaminated Ukrainian city built in the 1970s to house Chernobyl factory workers and evacuated in the wake of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

From kindergarten to cinema, the recurrent, intrusive motif of a wooden yardstick, the apparatus of cinema, placed in each photograph highlights Pripyat as a strange locus of fascination despite and because of the city’s radioactivity, manifesting in what the artists call ‘dark tourism’.

Measured, monitored and documented extensively over the past 25 years, the city has maintained a human presence in the form of researchers or day-trippers creating an intersection between catastrophe and desire.

Also on view will be ‘The Konvas Automat’ – a cast of a 35mm Russian Bolex camera, the same model of camera used by the Ukrainian film maker Vladimir Shevchenko who made the seminal film ‘Chernobyl: A Chronicle of Difficult Weeks’ in the days immediately following the disaster.

This film is an extraordinary, close-up record of the efforts to contain and clear up the disaster but it is also a compelling document of the physical effects of radiation on film.

The Wilsons were commissioned by Commissions East to produce a series of site specific installations on Orford Ness; the result was ‘Blind Landing’.

Situated off the UK’s Suffolk coast and now owned by the National Trust, the island was once a former Ministry of Defence H-bomb test facility that was operational during the Cold War.

The Wilsons installed a series of sculptures and sound works in the original test laboratories situated on the island.

Now on the verge of collapse, these laboratories were originally purpose built for the vibration testing of H-bomb casings.

Using the yardstick measure as the basis for their work, apparatus originally used by the film industry in the construction of sets, the sculptures were cast in aluminium and painted with individual black and white markers.

Hinting towards the historic relevance of the island as a future ruin, the measures also point to an architecture of forensics and camouflage and also to obsoletion because of their imperial standard: the yard (0.9144 of a metre), 36 inches.

The exhibition will present these works in the gallery in addition to a photograph taken of the works in situ at Orford Ness entitled ‘Blind Landing, H-Bomb Test Facility, Orford Ness, Suffolk, UK’.

Jane and Louise Wilson were born in Newcastle and received their MAs at Goldsmiths College of Art, London.

Using film, photography and sculpture, they have 
 darker side

They began working together in 1989 and since then have exhibited at major galleries internationally.

Nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999, they have been in numerous solo and group shows.

The exhibition, at Paradise Row, 74a Newman Street London W1T 3D, runs until 26 October; the gallery is open from Tuesday-Saturday from 11am–7pm.

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