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The Otolith Group:

What the Owl Knows

From 19 March to 2 June 2024

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Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation

Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation

Via Modane, 16, Turin

Closed today: open Thursday at 20:00

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The Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation presents, from 19 March to 2 June, What the Owl Knows, the solo exhibition by The Otolith Group, which takes its name from the artistic duo's most recent video work. Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar's post-cinematic practice is informed by an attention to an essayistic aesthetic that takes the form of present-day science fiction that seeks to dramatize the interscalar catastrophes of the racial Capitalocene. With the aim of reconfiguring relations intertemporal between past, present and future, The Otolith Group's research often originates from the existing works of composers, producers, musicians, poets, theorists and painters. The approach to sound of figures such as Julius Eastman, Codona, Drexciya, Etel Adnan, Una Marson, Denise Ferreira da Silva and Rabindranath Tagore involves a plurality of artistic methods for rethinking the force, mass and movement of images.

This way of feeling through media allows Eshun and Sagar to visit and revisit a sonic practice of image-making that invites the audience to listen to the video as a choreography of moving images, and to encounter the present as a historical experience projected from the horizon of an expected future. What the Owl Knows was born from an enduring friendship between the painter and writer Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Sagar and Eshun. The mutual admiration between the three Londoners forms the basis for a work that aims to affirm oblique affiliations within, between and through the media. Traditional documentaries and contemporary television, as well as museums and galleries, tend to research the motivations of the artist as a public figure, to provide psychological insight. On the contrary, it can be said that Eshun and Sagar's work is motivated by the desire to frustrate the institutions' demand for biographical explanations: the biographical imperative that characterizes the stories of cinema's encounter with painting What the Owl Knows replaces a new perspective. The work puts the audience in tune with the tone and consistency of the attention that the painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye dedicates to the demeanor and disposition, the manner and the moods inside and outside her paintings. What the Owl Knows aims to disarticulate the work of painting.

He is pleased with what he does not reveal. He focuses on details, lingers on fragments and toils in the negative work of decomposing the incremental accumulation of the compositional process. Study Yiadom-Boakye as he studies specific sections within a canvas whose extent we cannot see, ponders his next move, weighs the gravity of adjacent chromaticities, and records the shifting balance of chromatic forces. What animates the work it is the ambition to shift the gaze from the painter, as an object of attention, to the quality of the attention that the painter dedicates to painting. What the Owl Knows aspires to a poetics of recursion, in which the audience pays attention to the ways in which the digital video pays attention to the ways in which the painter pays attention to what she paints. The recursive structure duets with a series of scenes in which Yiadom-Boakye appears as a singular figure, a silhouette in sodium light, unsubmissive to the camera, circumnavigating wild areas of urban London, chosen for a specific but unrevealed reason. As Yiadom-Boakye reads his poems, each of which has been reconceived for and by the video, a narrow economy of introspective expressionism takes over the staging.

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Exhibitions included:

The Otolith Group Danielle McKinney Mohammed Sami Diana Anselmo


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