Wednesday 18 December 2019

Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain

“Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain” is the Yale Center for British Art’s first exhibition dedicated exclusively to film and video.  On view until Dec. 29, the exhibition highlights 10 works by Britain’s leading film and video artists. It features Theo Eshetu, Isaac Julien, Rosalind Nashashibi, Charlotte Prodger, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Zineb Sedira, John Smith and Alia Syed.  “The exhibition is exciting, and I think it challenges perceptions about what the center is as a museum and what it can be,” said Matthew Hargraves, chief curator of art collections at the YCBA and curator of the exhibition.  The exhibition is the result of collaboration between Hargraves and Rizvana Bradley, assistant professor of the history of art and African American studies. It was also supported by the YCBA’s former director, Amy Meyers.  Hargraves said that much of Britain’s “compelling” modern art is in moving image. The exhibition emerged from a “long-standing desire” to represent works of this medium at the YCBA.  According to the YCBA Director Courtney Martin, film, video and time-based media are “crucial” to contemporary art. Avant-garde artists began experimenting with these mediums in the early 20th century.  According to the exhibit’s press release, the exhibition addresses issues such as “forced migration, race and gender identity, environmental destruction, and colonial history.” Hargraves and Bradley worked closely with the featured artists to decide which of their works would best suit these themes.  Hargraves said that while some installations are immersive and poetic, other installations are more conceptual. He added that each element of the exhibition reflects “the movement of people across and around the world and the impact of those movements on questions of identity.”  Each artist has their own space in the exhibit. While the majority of the exhibition is situated on the YCBA’s third floor, a few works are displayed in other spaces such as the Entrance Court. Yet installing some of works in the YCBA posed spatial difficulties, Hargraves said.

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