Monthly Archives: April 2015

UR Feeling

This response to Simon Martin’s exhibition UR Feeling appeared in the Camden Arts Centre’s File Note series:

‘What I’m after is an emotional, affective landscape. Something as subtle and strong as the weather.’ (Simon Martin on UR Feeling)

Site 01: Rising

A site is ‘an area of ground on which a town, building, or monument is constructed,’ according to one definition. The town is a city within a city. Unreal City, eerily empty at weekends, teeming with white-collar workers on weekdays. The buildings, housing the London Stock Exchange, Goldman Sachs and investment banks, are something you might conjure up in a lucid dreaming exercise: faceless, hollow, spooky in their sheer geometric thrust. Linked by a colonnade, bisected by narrow passageways that were there long before they rose, the buildings give onto a central piazza overlooked, on one side, by a monument: a Corinthian column. Classic UR Feeling. You are in Paternoster Square, flanking St. Paul’s Cathedral at the top of Ludgate Hill – the highest point of The City.

You are a bombsite and a building site in perpetuity. A place that has been continually occupied for centuries. Burned, raided, built over, razed to the ground and redeveloped. Roman- medieval- Victorian. 1940; 1961-7; 2003. Imagine yourself as scaffolding in one of those lanes, protruding from one of those buildings slowly being erected – at the speed of a time-lapse photograph. A building site looks not unlike an archaeological dig. Can we speak of psychic archaeology the way we talk about psycho-geography?

Site 02: Falling

What goes up must come down. What must rise, must fall. From the debris of fallen buildings new streets will sprout, new parks will be landscaped. Falling towers. If we’re to believe architect and critic Charles Jenks, ‘Modern Architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1972 at 3.32 pm (or thereabouts) when the infamous Pruitt Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grâce by dynamite.’ The thirty-three tower blocks in Minoru Yamasaki’s modernist housing scheme, which once stood for urban renewal, were blown up with explosives, then and there, as American families around the country watched the demolition deed on their TV screens. The World Trade Center towers – in what is Yamasaki’s best-known project – would follow suit.

Consider a building collapsing. Does it go out like a candle? Does it totter, wobble, crumble, sink to the ground, or melt away and suddenly drop? How can it be anything other than a violent image? Can demolition be thought of as ‘assisted dying’ for a building? Perhaps that’s what Jenks had in mind when he spoke of a ‘final coup de grâce’. A joyous dissolution and disintegration. Let’s fall together. Fall again. Fall better.

Site 03: River

Think of the river as yet another site. For TS Eliot, the river is always the Thames, the ‘brown god’ of The Dry Salvages. River Thames, still referred to as the Isis in some parts. The monument erected on its banks is Cleopatra’s Needle, flanked on each side by two imitation Egyptian sphinxes cast in bronze. Inspect closely the right sphinx’s paw and you will notice a gaping black hole just above one of its smooth protruding claws. Lose yourself in it. The monument proudly bears the ‘scars’ that disfigure its surface. As the plaque on the base of the sphinx explains, these shrapnel wounds were caused by fragments of a bomb dropped close to this spot during World War I. They have never been mended. Cleopatra’s Needle and the sphinxes that guard it are there to preserve the memory of trauma.

Starting from Victoria Embankment, mentally retrace the river’s course, past the landmarks, past the bridges, as it snakes its way down to the estuary. Stop over at Wapping Stairs and listen. Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long. Can you make out a faint humming sound over and above that of the lapping waves? An abstract wavy sound. It’s an impression of what the oldest instrument to have come down to us, the reconstructed Queen’s Lyre from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, might have sounded like. An abstraction of an abstraction, at several removes from reality. That’s UR Feeling for you.

Site 04: Corner

Architects have grappled with the so-called ‘corner problem’ since classical antiquity. The trouble with corners began with Greco-Roman temple architecture, and the doric order specifically. In a culture that set great store by harmony, the slight misalignment of the last triglyph – a ribbed stone block imparting a visual rhythm to the architrave – and the corresponding column posed a problem. The doric corner conflict was never fully resolved, setting a dangerous precedent. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe came up with various ingenious solutions to the perennial architectural problem of how to make two surfaces meet. ‘Turning’ the building’s corners is a Miesian signature. Hollowed out, slightly set back, hidden from view, his are corners within corners.

But corners need not be this retiring, leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed. Think of a street corner, open to all. That’s where people hang out, talking, not really doing much; where you go to pick up drugs; where situations arise. It seems designed to facilitate encounters and bring people into contact.

Site 05: Portrait

Face to face in the dark. Set in an abandoned TV studio, Jean-Luc Godard’s 1969 Le Gai Ssavoir [Joy of Learning] features a male and a female character, Patricia and Emile, who meet at night in the middle of nowhere and have long discussions about things with the student protests of May 68 in the background. The blackout studio space is an echo chamber for their thoughts and typically middle-class preoccupations – something Godard appears to be critical of while celebrating it at the same time. The title is a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1882 The Gay Science. In this, one of his more personal books, Nietzsche pays homage to the ancient Greeks and their salutary life-affirming philosophy, which he regards as being in every way opposed to the guilt-ridden Christian culture. The second preface to the work begins with a paradoxical claim: ‘The Greeks were superficial out of profundity.’

This joyous philosophy is at odds with the fascination for death and disease evinced by Butoh. The squat earthbound physique associated with the dance of darkness, its palsied, tremulous movements, if anything, partake of the morbid sensibility that Nietzsche attributes to Christianity. But there are many moods to Butoh, by turns erotic, sensual, violent, vulnerable, powerful and exhausted. Butoh can be this and Butoh can be that. Subtle and strong like the weather.

Rare Earth

This review of ‘Rare Earth’ at TBA21 in Vienna appeared on KUNSTforum:

“After the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, this is the age of Rare Earth” – or so Boris Ondreička and Nadim Samman, who jointly curated the stylish group exhibition titled Rare Earth at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) in Vienna, would have us believe.

Marguerite Humeau, Réquiem for Harley Warren (“Screams from Hell”), 2015.  Photo: Joe Clark / TBA21

The modish appeal of the Anthropocene – which is being mooted as the dawn of a new geological epoch as we speak – lies behind this and other such inflated claims in the press release and promotional materials. Unlike the Anthropocene, a term that emphasizes the impact of human activity on the Earth’s ecosystem “the age of Rare Earth” draws attention to the material substrate that has enabled the technological leaps of the past decades as opposed to centuries (in the case of the Anthropocene).

The so-called “rare earth” elements of the periodic table have numerous industrial, medical, ecological and technological applications, ranging from cathode ray tubes in TV and LED screens to wind turbines, hybrid car components, sunglass lenses, lasers and X-rays. Unbeknownst to ourselves, we come into contact with them every time we reach for our mobile phones, laptops, tablets and other high-tech consumer goods associated with digital culture and the Internet.

Suzanne Treister, Rare Earth, 2014. Photo: Joe Clark / TBA21

What’s in a name?
“Rare earth” may be something of a misnomer, since the 17 elements commonly designated by that name are not especially scarce (cerium, for instance, ranks 25th among the earth’s most plentiful elements), but it works beautifully as an exhibition title. As the curators explain in a video interview, it emphasizes the rarity or fragility of our planet, bringing to the fore ecological issues that underpin the show. The word “rare” has the meaning of not completely cooked, somewhere between the dual poles of structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’s seminal 1964 study The Raw and the Cooked, the first volume of Mythologiques, in which these categories respectively embody nature and culture.

Iain Ball, Neodymium (Energy Pangea) , 2011.  Photo: Joe Clark / TBA21

The titular words carry all sorts of new age and mystical connotations, which the curators fully assume, even flaunt with talk of “spiritual shibboleth” and “occult scenography”. The esoteric dimension is emphasized with David Rudnick and Raf Rennie’s somewhat abstruse graphics, which draw on the heraldic ensigns of exhibiting artist Erick Beltrán. The specially designed, barely legible font vaguely evokes Hebrew characters and conjures cabbalistic lore. Etched out in white against a black backdrop, these give the show a strong visual identity.

Prominently displayed on the threshold of the second of four gallery spaces, Suzanne Treister’s black-and-white wall drawing Rare Earth (2014) maps out all 17 rare earth elements of the periodic table – complete with their symbol and atomic number – as well as their discoverers, sundry applications, occurrences. The series of concentric rings that make up the mandala-shaped cosmological diagram culminate with the words “RARE EARTH” written out in flame-like Gothic capitals nested inside the smallest circle. New age symbolism is also present in the shape of a small Maitreya solar cross – an intricate, ornate object ordinarily used in Buddhist blessing rituals – in Iain Ball’s Neodymium (Energy Pangea) (2011).

Rare Earth Elements
In their selection of seventeen international artists – one for each of the rare earth elements in the periodic table – the curators themselves appear to have been guided by numerological considerations. Thankfully, the show’s ruling conceit did not extend to assigning each artist a particular element. Whereas some artists chose to literally work with one or several of the elements, others addressed the overarching theme obliquely or not at all. Of the seventeen artworks on view, ten were specially commissioned for the show and the remaining ones chosen on the basis of their affinity with the subject – presumably. The rationale for including Camille Henrot’s video Grosse Fatigue, for instance, presented on its own in the final gallery space as a culminating point to the Rare Earth show, was not entirely clear. The vertigo-inducing history of the universe’s creation in 13 minutes, told through a succession of vignettes projected on a computer desktop, won the artist the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Despite the video’s encyclopedic thrust, the connection with the show’s theme is tenuous at best.

Some rare earth elements, such as neodymium or europium, crop up in more than one exhibited work. Ball’s terrarium for a bearded dragon is lit up by a neodymium reptile lamp; a neodymium amplifier features in Marguerite Humeau’s spectacular sound installation Réquiem for Harley Warren (“Screams from Hell”) (2015); the element is listed among the rare earth minerals and precious metals (tantalum, gold) extracted from used hard drives in Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen’s b/NdAlTaAu (2015). Named after the continent, europium lives up to the name of a “rare earth” element, being among the least abundant elements in the universe. Neatly rolled up and arranged into a pyramidal pile, Ai Weiwei’s white beach towels in Rare Towels (2015) have the show’s title embroidered on them with a glow-in-the-dark europium thread. Europium, terbium and cerium combine in the liquid crystal displays of LCD touch screens at the heart of the Otolith Group’s psychedelic 2011 Anathema video.

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, b/NdAlTaAu, 2015. Photo: Joe Clark / TBA21

Rather than a rare earth element per se, Swiss artist Julian Charrière’s The Third Element (2015) uses a lithium solution to produce misty colour gradations, ranging from sea green to acidic yellow, on the slanted rectangular window panes in the first gallery room. Barely visible at night, in artificial lighting, Charrière’s elusive colour projections are among the more understated works in a group show that does not shy away from loud visual and aural effects. The use of lithium – whose atomic number gives the work its title – as a colouring substance relates to Weiwei’s own interest in the fluorescent properties of europium which makes colours glow at nighttime.

Between Geology and Geopolitics
With more than 30 percent of the world’s rare earth deposits, China supplies much of the raw material and controls virtually 90 percent of the global rare earth market. This explains the prominence given to Chinese artists and cultural references in the show. Aside from the ubiquitous Ai Weiwei, whose Rare Towels draw attention to China’s predominant role in the rare earth production, Rare Earth includes two of Guan Xiao’s tubular metallic sculptures from 2012, whose shape evokes the titular “core samples” extracted from the earth and used to measure its age. Made from pigmented polyurethane, Olivier Laric’s striated Janus-faced bust of Sun Tzu (544-496 BC), the author of The Art of War treatise, likewise evokes geological strata.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is another key supplier of rare earth materials for multinational companies such as Apple. It offers a counterpoint to China’s successful strategy designed to move it up the supply chain instead of continuing to export less profitable raw rare earth materials. Voyant (2015), the Congolese artist Katambayi Mukendi’s contribution to the show, is a giant robot-shaped sculpture made of cardboard, recycled materials and electrical components, rather than any rare earth materials as such. Cohen and Van Balen’s metallic ore lump painstakingly extracted from discarded hard drives – the type of work that tends to be outsourced to workers in African conflict zones – is part of the artistic duo’s ongoing research project on coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both these works address the geopolitical and economic implications of rare earth extraction in a globalised world.

Katie Paterson, Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky, 2012.  Photo: Joe Clark / TBA21

Cohen and Van Balen’s installation exemplifies a process of material transformation whereby rare earth magnets regain their original mineral guise once extracted from hard drives. Something akin to this is at work in Katie Paterson’s seemingly futile attempt to melt down a Campo del Cielo meteorite bought from a dealer in Arizona only to recast it into a new version of itself in Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky (2012) – with the attendant project of sending it back into space in an unmanned rocket. What exactly has been gained in the process? The work beautifully illustrates Antoine Lavoisier’s famous dictum: “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”

Given its stated subject, it is hardly surprising that the show is firmly anchored in the mineral (as opposed to vegetable and animal) kingdom. For her elegant sculptural installation Luminous Lining (2015), Ursula Mayer avails herself of found materials – from glass rods to discarded electronic components – to create a stone garden of sorts. Ball’s sculptural installation in the form of a terrarium combines driftwood, plants and artificial light to create a habitat fit for a live bearded dragon. Inanimate and animate matter merge in Roger Hiorn’s hybrid living sculpture Untitled (2012), part man part machine, in which a naked man whose pose evokes that of Rodin’s Thinker is seated atop a nimbus military helicopter engine, lit up at one end to produce a flame.

In choosing Rare Earth as the focus for their group show at TBA21 curators Boris Ondreička and Nadim Samman mine a rich thematic vein. The seventeen works on view by well-known and emerging artists alike come at the notion of “rare earth” from different angles, reflecting their interests, yet without adhering to it slavishly. The proposed parcours from room to room highlights the connections that the works have to one another in what is, all in all, a coherent and timely show, one that speaks to our ecologically-minded and digitally-savvy cultural moment.

What Could Happen

This report from the New Territories’ “What Could Happen” appeared on artforum.com:

Left: An outpost on Bernina Pass. Right: Camille Lacadée and François Roche. (All photos: Agnieszka Gratza)

STEPPING INSIDE the plush lobby of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina—a mere four miles from Saint Moritz in the Engadin valley—felt like walking into a time warp. The beautifully appointed Kronenhof, overlooking the Roseg Glacier and a pine-clad valley, is what the Grand Budapest Hotel in Wes Anderson’s film may have been like in its glory days. A bottle of champagne was chilling in my room, but alas, there was no time to wallow in the luxury of the place that evening, as the Schwarzenbachs were expecting our party for dinner at Villa Meridiana in Saint Moritz.

Champagne was being served at the preprandial drinks in the Schwarzenbachs’ reception room as we arrived. A Picasso hung salon style beside a Schnabel and a Basquiat. “That’s the largest Basquiat I’ve ever seen,” pronounced Financial Times Chinese correspondent Peifen Sung. Over an exquisite candlelit dinner, our hostess, who adamantly denied being a former Miss Australia (though she certainly looks the part), told us about the billionaire couple’s collections of Dutch masters, aboriginal art, Russian Constructivists—you name it—housed in as many homes, and at the privately owned Garangula Gallery in New South Wales.

This “informal gathering” was meant to introduce us to some of the actors in “What Could Happen,” conceived by the New-Territories’ “anarchitect” François Roche and his partner Camille Lacadée with the artist Pierre Huyghe. The last of these was conspicuous by his absence, and would remain so for the entire run of the performance staged and shot live on a vintage Alpine train over three consecutive days. But Roche and Lacadée were in attendance, as was Michèle Lamy of Owenscorp, who provided the refreshments for the train journey, as well as former Vogue editor Helen White and some of the sponsors, including Polish collector Ania Starak and LUMA Foundation’s Maja Hoffmann. (Once completed, the film will be shown at LUMA Westbau in Zurich.)

The stage was set for the “sparkling decadence of the train” catering to, as Roche put it, the “moneyed gregarious tribes.” We had been consigned to the first carriage, where the film shoot was to take place, and asked to wear dark clothing accordingly. No one told Norman Foster, apparently, who stood out in a white outfit with an off-white pullover; in contrast, Lady Foster sported a black fur hat that more than rose to the occasion. So did Lamy’s sculptural Comme des Garçons coat. A rakish nearly black headscarf with a skull motif completed the ensemble.

Left: LUMA Foundation founder Maja Hoffmann and style editor Gianluca Longo. Right: Norman Foster and Elena Foster.

Death and disease were on the agenda. Prior to boarding the train, we had been briefed by the perpetually grumpy Lacadée not to overact and to stay in character: “You are passengers en route for the sanatorium and your main subject of discussion, your only subject of discussion actually, will be your pathologies.” The sanatorium in question was the one where Thomas Mann penned his 1902 novella Tristan, a prelude to Magic Mountain. (The dates of “What Could Happen” coincided with the tragic denouement of the novella.)

Talk of pathologies kept us going for a while. Giorgio Pace, the event’s producer, looking snug in a wooly turtleneck with a black cape thrown over it, chose to talk about his depression (real or imaginary) just as we were being filmed. Something of an impresario with an extensive carnet d’adresses, he has taken upon himself to turn the Engadin valley into an art destination for the happy few.

Altitude made us giddy. Hunger kept us on edge. (Tucking into our “picnic” bags was not allowed during the filming.) I would occasionally glance over my shoulder to see what the heavily made-up actors in our midst—portraying a domineering mother and her rebellious teenage son—were up to, but the plodding dialogue punctuated by long silences did not hold my attention for long.

More intriguing was the bulbous glass object that the Son held in his hands and fiddled with obsessively. This was Huyghe’s McGuffin, in film noir parlance a term designating a coveted object or some other plot device that motivates the characters and moves the narrative along. This “riddle in glass,” as Roche put it, furnished the Son with an exit strategy, a means of weaning himself in a symbolic rite of passage.

As we reached a small frozen lake, Lago Bianco on the Bernina Pass, surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers, the train suddenly ground to a halt. A piercing shriek was heard at the front of the train—an impression, no doubt, of the wailing she-devil after whom the Diavolezza mountain rising in front of us is named. Everyone rushed to the windows, through which we could see a path in the snow leading up to a crystalline structure, delicately etched out against the lake’s snowy expanse. Soon a naked man appeared on it and slowly, deliberately made his way toward the cavelike structure, before crawling into it to take his place among the piled-up congealed bodies of which it was constructed.

The transparent dome, gesturing toward the utopian glass and Alpine architecture of Bruno Taut and Paul Scheerbart, was made with a six-axis robot from bioplastic: starch, corn, wheat, and the like. “It’s coming from agriculture,” Roche explained to us as we huddled together drinking Glühwein outside a Rhaetian railway outpost and trying to shake off the morbid vision.

Left: Francesca Schwarzenbach and fashion editor Helen White. Right: Owencorp’s Michele Lamy; Frith Kerr of Studio Frith, and curator and producer Giorgio Pace.

“I think it’s fascinating. I’m only starting to understand it,” Foster said, speaking for many, once we resumed our seats in the carriage for the return journey. It takes an architect, perhaps, to fully appreciate the fine features of design, the attention to detail, the sense of proportion, how the color of the outside echoed the wooden fittings inside the recommissioned Swiss train made in 1910. We came away fully convinced of its being a design marvel.

Those same qualities were everywhere in evidence at Chesa Futura, the Fosters’ Saint Moritz pied-à-terre, where we reconvened for drinks and canapés later that evening. The bubble-like, timber-clad building designed by Foster + Partners, naturally, does away with corners. Half of it is owned by Urs Schwarzenbach, who had hosted the dinner party on the previous night. The Fosters awaited us in the penthouse with its sinuous furniture and sweeping views of the town. Norman Foster had changed to a black outfit—too late for the shoot. There was more champagne on offer, along with an assortment of pinchos (Elena Foster hails from Madrid).

We happily mingled for an hour or two, in much the same rarefied company as the night before, with maybe one exception. At one point a softly spoken graying man, who looked strangely familiar, introduced himself to me. It was Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland. Ah, the Elysian Fields of Saint Moritz.

Nil Yalter

This review of Nil Yalter’s solo show at MOT International appeared on art agenda:

Nil Yalter, Rahime, Kurdish Woman from Turkey (detail), 1979.

Nil Yalter, Rahime, Kurdish Woman from Turkey (detail), 1979.

The recent resurgence of interest in the pioneering work of Turkish artist Nil Yalter (b. 1938), whose career spans four decades, owes much to Cornelia Butler’s 2007 exhibition “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In her retrospective of feminist art from the 1970s, Butler showcased La Roquette, Prison des Femmes (1974), Yalter’s early multimedia work, arguably rescuing it from near oblivion. For decades, the video, photographic, and drawing installation, made in collaboration with artists Judy Blum and Nicole Croiset, languished in the collection of the Fonds national d’art contemporain (FNAC) in France, which acquired it early on but never subsequently showed it.

La Roquette, Prison des Femmes is the earliest of four works, all dating from 1974 and 1979, featured in this tightly focused solo show. A docu-fiction, it is based on the account of Mimi, an inmate at the female prison La Roquette in Paris before it was closed and demolished in 1974. The work grew out of another project called Paris Ville Lumière (1974), a critical guided tour of the French capital’s 20 arrondissements seen through the eyes of two foreigners: Yalter and her American collaborator Judy Blum, who initially met Mimi. La Roquette was their focus for the 11th district. The remnants of prison walls, filmed with Nicole Croiset, form the backdrop of Mimi’s poignant narration and reflection of daily life at the prison in a black-and-white video which is presented alongside a transcription of the text, as well as two series of 16 photographic works and photographs of original drawings, which illustrate Mimi’s narrative, mounted on either side of the monitor.

One of the drawings, accompanied by a quotation from Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) written in white block capitals, features a round, wheel-like structure with a church at its center. Modeled after Jeremy Bentham’s proposal for the all-seeing panopticon, La Roquette was guarded by nuns who kept a close watch on the female inmates but turned a blind eye to the rampant sexuality Mimi repeatedly alludes to. Though not a lesbian, she recalls flirting with and dating fellow prisoners, partly out of sheer boredom. A place of female confinement, sociability, and promiscuity, Yalter’s La Roquette invites comparisons with the “golden prison” of the Ottoman seraglio in the black-and-white video Harem (1979), which draws on historical accounts of life inside the harem.

Harem, a performance made for video, puts the medium to more sophisticated use. Where La Roquette featured shots of moving lips and of hands repeatedly passing over and stroking mundane objects such as blankets, jugs, or coats against the background of the prison wall, Harem uses repetition and screens within screens to disturbing effect, as in the opening sequence in which Yalter rests her hands over the monitor screen, displaying a close-up of a female eye, mirrored in two images of diminishing sizes. In another shot, the artist holds aslant between her legs a monitor showing painted lips bearing teeth in a way that inevitably calls to mind the vagina dentata myth. Fragmented visions of eyes, lips, legs, feet, and breasts appear captive, confined to their monitors, the object of ritual attentions that disconcertingly blur the boundary between reality and representation.

Whether read or written out, texts are an integral part of the four works on display at MOT International. Placed against a paper background, faded with time, the black-and-white photograph of a run-down area of Istanbul in Temporary Dwellings (1974) gives way to handwritten excerpts from Friedrich Engels’s 1892 essay The Housing Question and Vladmir Lenin’s The State and Revolution (1917), with small pages of the Qur’an stapled directly beneath them. More old pages from a Qur’an that belonged to Yalter’s grandmother form neat rows below a horizontal sequence of more black-and-white photographs of a domestic interior that are part of the multimedia installation Rahime, Kurdish Woman from Turkey (1979), the last two of which show books by Lenin and Stalin laid out on a table.

Black, white, and their gradations dominate this spare and elegant exhibition. But color is not altogether absent. Unlike the other two video works on view, the video of Rahime… is shot in color. The installation comprises a series of drawings, a  55-minute video (made in collaboration with Nicole Croiset), photographs, and drawings, which also deploy subtle shades of mauve, yellow, and jade to color in doors, pillows, bed covers, and sundry bits of apparel. In contrast, heads and limbs are left void and fade into the background, equally bereft of color. Most strikingly, a dense cluster of cloth strips, dyed a rusty red, protrudes from the middle of a framed photographic assemblage. Mixed in with tightly wound thread, these “bloody rags” allude to the honor killing of Rahime’s daughter by one of her kinsmen, narrated in the video; but they also summon Yalter’s wider interest in nomadic culture and ritual that threads its way through her work.