Renée Green ░ Within Living Memory




Renée Green at Carpenter Center


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Artist: Renée Green
Venue: Carpenter Center, Cambridge
Exhibition Title: Within Living Memory
Date: February 1 – April 15, 2018
Note: A publication associated with the exhibition is available for download here.
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Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
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Images courtesy of the artist; Carpenter Center, Cambridge; and Free Agent Media
Press Release:
Artist, writer, and filmmaker Renée Green’s most extensive solo presentation on the East Coast in fifteen years.
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (CCVA) is pleased to announce the exhibition Within Living Memory, Renée Green’s most extensive solo presentation on the East Coast in fifteen years. Within Living Memory, on view February 1–April 14, 2018, is a meditation spurred by a two year engagement with an architectural icon —Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center—while exploring the historical and institutional legacies of modernism’s other forms, including cinema, visual art, poetry, music, and literature.
Conceived as a constellation, Within Living Memory will inhabit all of Carpenter Center’s public spaces, bringing together Green’s wide-ranging production from over the past decade. These interconnected bodies of work address conditions of residency and displacement, subjective experience, institutional memory, notions of progress, and the inevitability of decay, all the while rethinking how time is marked.
The exhibition will premiere Americas:Veritas (2018), a new moving image work specifically produced for Within Living Memory, and composed of materials shot on location by the artist in Cambridge and Argentina, as well as photographic documents sourced from the Harvard Libraries and Archives. In this new work, Green positions Le Corbusier’s Cambridge-situated Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in dialogue with his Casa Curutchet, located in La Plata, Argentina, as the architect’s only two built structures in the Americas, despite Le Corbusier’s ambition to apply his sweeping urbanistic vision to locations on both continents.
In its variety of forms and modalities, Within Living Memory may be read as a response to a question the artist first posed in a 2001 essay: “How can a relationship with the past exist in which memory functions as an active process allowing continual reconsideration rather than as a form of entombment to which archives and museums are sometimes compared?”[i] The projects and artworks on view present a vital composite of several seemingly disparate narratives, eliding more complicated histories in ways that point to a nuanced understanding of our world’s relationality.
The selection of 17 discreet works—including Green’s recent essay films ED/HF (2017), Walking in NYL (2016), and Begin Again, Begin Again (2015)—traces the reception and recirculation of various artistic and literary modernisms. Green advances new visual and aural linkages between diverse international figures and sites, spanning Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Presented alongside other time- based works on Viennese émigré architect Rudolf M. Schindler, literary luminaries Gertrude Stein, Laura (Riding) Jackson, and Muriel Rukeyser, composer Lou Harrison, and figures like Albert Einstein and Paul Robeson, Green’s new moving image work reflects the artist’s long-standing consideration of the complex interfaces of international modernism as it continues to unfold today.
Within Living Memory also showcases a rare presentation of Green’s installation Secret (1993, 2006, 2010). Comprised of a video in three parts with soundtracks in English and French, along with a series of 73 black-and-white photographs, Secret juxtaposes two of Green’s recurring tropes—“the document” and the “fictional”—to reflect on her experience inhabiting a semi-deserted apartment in Le Corbusier’s concrete housing block, Unité d’habitation, located in Firminy, France. Designed in 1952 as a utopian proposal for collective living, Green encountered the iconic housing complex as a “modern ruin” when she was invited to participate in the 1993 group exhibition Project Unité.
Key to Within Living Memory is the way Green reconsiders the activities that occur in the Carpenter Center’s interior and exterior spaces. Films, typically screened in darkened theaters, are projected onto the building’s windows and exterior walls, for example. Moreover, the inclusion of photography, prints, banners, sound works, and her Media Bichos (2011– 13), Green’s sculptural units for viewing moving- image materials, is characteristic of her way of working. The artist has described this type of schematic as “a way of consistently combining: the spaces, the architectures, colors, and the moving images, and sonic circulations, and constructions, objects and things. Yet there is an excess that seeps out of the schematic, and it is this created tension/space—interval, break, interstice—that I like to probe.”[ii] This approach allows Green to “animate in a simultaneous yet contrapuntal, layered way…and allows each percipient [to follow] their own mental path, with its myriad associations, while encountering a composed form in a space.”[iii]