John Gerrard "Cuban School (Community 5th of October)"

Simon Preston Gallery

poster for John Gerrard "Cuban School (Community 5th of October)"

This event has ended.

The gallery is pleased to present John Gerrard's second solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will comprise of a major new work, shown as a large-scale double-projection, titled "Cuban School (Community 5th of October)." The work is a portrait of an existing building, situated in the countryside outside Havana. Constructed in the 1960's to a modular Eastern Bloc design, the school is, though actively used and home to 75 school children, essentially a 'functional ruin', disinheriting its formal integrity through entropy and decay. The site continues the artist's interest in modular, pre-fabricated structures, questioning their resilience and capacity to exist as potent entities once complicit resources are depleted or removed.

Working from extensive photographs and topographical satellite data, the artist and studio have hand-built a meticulous virtual world, a portrait, over which the artist has an unprecedented control. Through an unflinching camera orbit, and 365 day cycle, the viewer is encouraged to both assess the melancholic demise of a political vision, and as importantly, the extensive methods used to prolong the usefulness of its artifacts.

In a related manner to the artist's approach in "Oil Stick Work," a single actor, in this instance a portrait of a caretaker, Mariebelle Leon, is the only human presence in the work. The actor, whose motions have been carefully scanned from life, will turn on the buildings lights at dusk each day, and off again at dawn over the span of a year. Her presence determines a particular culture of mindfulness and resolve and both underlines an evolving usage of theatrical language and metaphor, as well as the artist's continuing solar emphasis.

To coincide with the exhibition, AO&, an artist's collective based in Vienna, have been invited to undertake a residency in a derelict storefront next to the gallery. As is their tradition, the group will spend several weeks preparing a succession of rooms to provide shelter, comfort and confidentiality for informal dialogue over a series of multi-course dinners.



from November 04, 2010 to December 23, 2010

Opening Reception on 2010-11-04 from 18:00 to 20:00


John Gerrard

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