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Margins: Walking Between Worlds (Part 3): William Kentridge

William Kentridge, Shadow Procession, 1999

"Shadow Procession works with the simple idea of cut and hinged paper figures moving across a back-lit surface to the jaunty soundtrack of What a friend we have in Jesus. But this is a procession that asks its participants to carry their possessions and to walk whether they are young, old, sick or lame. As figures move across the screen, head down reading the bible or newspapers, they walk with obedience and passivity. The ominous feeling that all is not as it seems quickens as the figures become weighed down by their ever increasing burdens, until they are not just carrying luggage:, but one is seen carrying a grand piano, another an entire city. Shadows from shadow puppets add to the sense of chaos and mass expulsion, while also reminding us of the presence of the puppeteer’s presence."

-- Jess Kenny, "William Kentridge: The Impossible is What Happens All the Time"

Walking Objects by Marco Rountree Cruz, 2011

Marco Rountree Cruz (b.1982) is from Mexico City. This excerpt is from an interview that happened after he made his installation at Art Exchange, University of Essex during his stay in England in November 2011.

Zanna Gilbert: You’ve just finished your installation for the exhibition Margins: Walking Between Worlds at Art Exchange. Can you tell me about the idea you had for the work?

Marco Rountree Cruz: It is hard to explain. All my life I have enjoyed walking, it is a very important part of my life actually. Since I was really young I collected trash from the streets and gave importance to the trash, not in a melancholic way, but a sweet feeling, about how an object is just left there on the street. Well, I live in a city, right and it is about how you can give importance to objects by taking them home and treating them like a decoration. When I came and saw the Tacita Dean and Aztec display, and the book there talking about mystic and shamanic stuff, I came with the idea of doing a mystic and shamanic necklace. Usually people hang special things and objects relating to religion on their necklaces. It has this spiritual context, but it is also an issue with fashion and aesthetics, which I really enjoy. I really like conceptual art but I also love decoration. It is funny the necklace thing because I’m also a huge fan of hip hop, remember Flavor Flav, that rapper from Public Enemy who used to hang huge objects like watches, from his necklaces?


Thursday 15 November: Marina Warner gives a talk on Tacita Dean's Footage and representations of the other-worldliness of feet in cultural history and mythology. She comments "Divinely beautiful feet summon up their counterpoise, their opposite, as imagining the soul and its lightness recalls the drag of the body.”

Tacita Dean's work explores the ways chance and coincidence influence daily life while seeking out connections between past and present, fact and fiction. She maps not just the objective world but also our private worlds and traces the complex interaction between the two: real landscapes are layered with inner, psychic landscapes defined by our own desires and obsessions. Dean‘s art is carried by a sense of history, time and place, light quality and the essence of film itself. It moves from this world into the next, tracing the journeys of others along the threshold between life and death. -- Jess Kenny, Curator of Margins: Walking Between Worlds


Richard Wentworth, Caledonian Road

"Richard Wentworth’s photographs map out a location, such as the Caledonian Road, and point to a walking as a daily process of thinking through and discovery. In doing so, he documents items that have been incongruously and sometimes ingeniously placed in public spaces."

-- Zanna Gilbert, "Margins: Walking Between Worlds (Part 1)," 2011

John Smith, The Girl Chewing Gum, 1976

"If the film is ultimately a parody that undercuts the mythology of the classic auteur’s independence and absolute creative control, then part of the narrative interest of Smith’s film is connected with what I take to be the auteur-character implicitly beginning to recognize that his directorial power is based upon fragile artifice. Nearly two-thirds into the film, the auteur’s commands lose their previous instantaneous response and a temporal lag opens up. Instead of taking the form of directorial instructions, the power of which are demonstrated by their immediate enactment, the voice becomes one of almost wild prediction which find verification of sorts moments later."

-- Matthew Bowman, "Want, Want, Want: John Smith’s The Girl Chewing Gum, or, The Disintegration of the Auteur," 2011

Emily Jacir, Crossing Surda: A Record of Going to and from Work, 2002

"In December 2002, Jacir decided to record her daily walk from the occupied territories to Birzeit University—a journey that inevitably includes crossing the Surda checkpoint. When Jacir arrived at the checkpoint, Israeli soldiers realized that she was filming and demanded her ID. She presented them with her American passport, which was thrown into the mud by the soldiers, and she was informed that she was on “Israeli” territory and that no filming was permitted. She was detained by the soldiers for three hours and her videotape was confiscated. Refusing to be deterred, when Jacir made it home she adapted her bag so that it could conceal a video camera. After that, for the next eight days, she secretly video documented her crossing of the Surda checkpoint. The artwork Crossing Surda: A Record of Going to and from Work is the result of that daily documentation."

-- Matthew Bowman

Regina José Galindo, Quién Puede Borrar las Huellas? (Who Can Erase the Traces?), 2003

“¿Quién Puede Borrar las Huellas? took place on 23 July 2003, when Galindo, dressed in black, walked barefoot through Guatemala City. She went from the Constitutional Court building to the Old National Palace, holding a basin filled with human blood. Every few steps she stopped and dipped her feet into the blood, leaving a bloody trail of footprints behind her. This highly charged walk was a personal (re)action against the still corrupt Constitutional Court that had allowed Efraín Ríos Montt —a former dictator accused of committing genocide during the civil war— to run for president a few days earlier.

The symbolism of the performance seems clear: the footprints represent the thousands of civilians murdered, predominantly by the army, during the civil war. It is notable that Galindo re-negotiates past and present violence by making it publicly visible.”

-- Michelle Franke, “Mediatic Violence and the Work of Regina José Galindo,” 2011

Francis Alÿs, Ambulantes, 1992 - present.

"[Ambulantes] is based on Alÿs's observations of the reality of the streets of a megapolis like Mexico City where informal trade and parallel economies are an everyday phenomenon."

-- Andres Montenegro, "Francis Alÿs, Ambulantes," 2011.

Margins: Walking Between Worlds (Part 1)

An exhibition in 3 parts, ‘Margins: walking between worlds’ creates a platform for bringing together work that registers the often complex issues inherent in the simple act of walking.

Part 1 investigates how mobility, resistance and power can be explored through the simple act of walking. This exhibition focuses on artists who insert themselves into everyday life on the streets. Some subtly absorb the world around them, while others walk in an overtly political direction. Yet all reference place, all utilise the natural narrative of going on a journey - and all recognise that the absurdity of our situation is never far away.

This exhibition brings together the work of internationally renowned artists Francis Alÿs, Regina José Galindo, Emily Jacir, John Smith and Richard Wentworth.


Curator's Blog

Welcome to the Arts on 5 Curator's Blog!

Regina Jose Galindo: Lesson Of Dissection
Friday 4 November, 7.30-8.30pm
Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, Auditorium A

A new performance by internationally renowned artist Regina Jose Galindo. Using her body and skill of a surgeon, Galindo will explore how recent murders in Mexico and Guatemala owe much their ritualistic killing to a history of dissection.

Do come along!
Admission free, but booking essential. Email: arts@essex.ac.uk
Commissioned by Art Exchange in partnership with ESCALA and firstsite.

Regina Jose Galindo's website:


Previous Exhibition - O Painters! My Painters!

09 July 2011 - 23 July 2011

Reading about the artists at the private view of O Painters! My Painters!
Private view of O Painters! My Painters!
Private view of O Painters! My Painters!
Private view of O Painters! My Painters!
Private view of O Painters! My Painters!
Curators Jessica Kenny (centre left) and Kaavous Clayton (centre right) at the private view of O Painters! My Painters!
Rebecca Roscorla
Close-up of Rebecca Roscorla Regent's Park 6.
Close-up of Robin Webb's Untitled (Wall).
Neil Keith Barker, Untitled (White Drips)