Orson Welles’s MOBY DICK-REHEARSED inspires a Cartel Gallery art exhibition in London, opening May 27, 2011Friday, May 13th, 2011
IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE
Four artists respond to the 1955 stage play written and directed by Orson Welles, that Welles considered his greatest work in the Theatre.
114-116 Amersham Vale (in the courtyard of the Old Police Station)
Adam Chodzko / Côme Ciment / Anthea Hamilton / Jacopo Miliani
Curated by Ariella Yedgar and Rosie Cooper
28 May - 16 July 2011
Private View: 27 May 6:30pm - till late
Wednesday - Saturday 12-4pm.
Late opening Friday 24 June 7-11pm.
Moby Dick inspired a lifelong obsession in Orson Welles. So much so, that he directed and appeared in at least three different adaptations of the novel: once on stage and twice in film.
Welles's interpretations of Moby Dick included a 1955 play he wrote and directed about a theatre company's rehearsal of the Melville story, which featured newcomers Patrick McGoohan, Joan Plowright and Kenneth Williams, and starred the director himself as Captain Ahab. It is said that Welles considered the theatre hall to be the belly of the whale, in which the actors are unwittingly trapped - much as, in the novel, the crew are caught on the ship. Soon after the theatre production finished its run at the Duke of York's Theatre, Welles shot a film version in two London theatres that included additional cast members such as Sir Christopher Lee. It has long been presumed lost. 16 years later, Welles made another attempt at his own film version, in which he played all the major parts. Some of this footage was edited together into a 22-minute short film, but at this time the film is unavailable for public viewing.
In the Belly of the Whale is a response to Welles's unremitting and ultimately unfinished film project. It considers the theme of rehearsal and its related notions of incompleteness, version and repetition. The exhibition features new works by Adam Chodzko, Côme Ciment, Jacopo Miliani, and a recent piece by Anthea Hamilton, along with contextual material.
A rare contact sheet of Brian Brake's photos of Welle's 1955 London stage production can be seen Here.
Adam Chodzko has made a film for a damaged projector, set in a theatre, and objects for actors to use in rehearsal. Côme Ciment has articulated elements from Moby Dick and the exhibition's premise with different gestures that appear throughout the exhibition space.
Anthea Hamilton's airy room divider Untitled (Rope Divider) (2009/2011) is made predominantly of knotted rope - the technique for which was inspired by John Huston's film Moby Dick. A large metal ring acts as a portal between the real space of the exhibition and a possible space of fiction.
Working with found images of a theatrical origin, Jacopo Miliani imagines a casting for some of the secondary characters in Moby Dick.
In the Belly of the Whale will include a programme of associated events, to be announced shortly.
Like Welles's play, this show is itself a rehearsal for a larger event that the curators are developing in parallel.
About the Artists:
Chodzko works in a variety of media that have included performance, film, drawing and sculpture. His work is conceptual, and often lyrical and fantastical. Working directly with the people and places that surround him, Chodzko's art focuses on culture's edges, endings, displacements and disappearances. He has exhibited extensively, most recently at venues and exhibitions including: Tate St Ives, Cornwall; Museum d'Arte Moderna, Bologna; Athens Foundation, Athens; PS1, New York; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland. In 2002 he received awards from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, London, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art, New York.
Côme Ciment is one of the many identities of artist Olivier Castel, who makes work under a variety of different names, often collaged from those of other artists. Similarly, his art takes on - and re-imagines - a range of broad cultural references, including literature and art, with a characterisitic lightness of touch and humorous approach. Previous exhibitions include 'Variety;, London (2011), and 'Ribbons: The Shape of an Exhibition', Auto Italia, London (2010), both solo shows; an intervention entitled 'The Fox is Concentrating, Trying to Make the Exhibition Disappear', for the Zabludowicz Collection, London (2011); 'Tableau Vivnat: A Wandering Retrospective', Prospect New Orleans, (2010); and 'How Large the World is in the Light of the Lamps', Curzon Soho Cinema, London (2008), in collaboration with Kazimierz Jankowski.
The physicality of bodies and objects are a source of pleasure for Anthea Hamilton. She combines disparate elements (music, films, images from men's magazines, rope, the silhouette of a woman's leg, a melon, a rubber mask of Bart Simpson, etc.) to uncanny effect in her work, which takes different forms, including installations, mobiles, films and paintings. Recent solo exhibitions include: 'Anthea Hamilton', IBID Projects, London (2009); 'Spaghetti Hoops', La Salle de bains, Lyon (2009); and Kusntverein Freiburg, Germany (2009). Recent group exhibitions include: 'Savage Messiah', Rob Tufnell at Sutton Lane, London (2011); 'Newspeak: British Art Now', Saatchi Gallery, London (2010), 'Wunderkammer', me Collectors Room, Berlin (2010); and 'Small Collections', Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2009).
Through his interdisciplinary practice (installations, videos, collages, performances), Jacopo Miliani challenges the role of representation as a mimesis of reality and its placement in contemporary society. Using the subjectivity of the viewer in relation to mass culture, Jacopo reflects upon image and audience, often using his personal archive of quotations and found images in ambiguous ways to create a work that can only be 'completed' in the audience's mind. Recent exhibitions include 'Italian Wave', Artissima, Turin (2010); a screening in relation to the Derek Jarman retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2008). In 2009, he was granted the Platform Garanti International Residence Programme in Istanbul. He has also shown work at Villa Romana, Florence; FormContent, London; and has recently contributed to the International Performance Festival at Galeria Vermelho in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
About The Cartel Gallery:
Cartel is an independent not-for-profit platform for curators in South East London. Launched in the summer of 2010, it showcases about six projects a year. Housed in a black shipping container, Cartel's programme is decided by a flexible consortium of international members.