Artists Space

Lights, Tears and Real Abstractions
A survey of work by Anja Kirschner and David Panos

Artists Space is pleased to present the first comprehensive US survey of films and video installations by the London-based artists Anja Kirschner and David Panos. Over the course of two weeks a series of screenings, talks and curated events will address recurring concerns and methodologies within their work.

A man and a woman in a split screen view with a black space between them. The man
Anja Kirschner and David Panos, still from Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances, 2011. [A man and a woman in a split screen view with a black space between them. The man's face is turned to the side; the woman is facing towards him, her eyes cast downwards, with two fingers pointing.]

Artists Space : Books & Talks
55 Walker Street

Working collaboratively since 2006, Kirschner and Panos have produced a series of cinematic works that have been at the forefront of explorations into narrative form within recent artists’ film and video. Frequently drawing on literary and historical sources as a means of reflecting on the present, their works collide film genre motifs and theoretical discourses, melodrama and digital effects to create a distinctive filmic language that subverts existing categories. Extending and challenging the tradition of Brechtian anti-naturalism their films explore the relation of art and culture to political economy and power.

The artists’ first long-form narrative films stemmed from the experience of gentrification in East London, and the forms of collective direct action that had emerged in opposition to real estate development. Often working with amateurs and non-actors from their local area, these works transposed the principles of the Brechtian learning play, to the imaginary spaces of cinematic and televisual genres. Polly II – A Plan for a Revolution in Docklands (2006), conjured up a sci-fi vision of a drowned London where acts of piracy threaten the plans of scheming developers and local politicians. Trail of the Spider (2008) dramatized the effects of urban displacement in East London in advance of the 2012 Olympics, in an imaginary “vanishing frontier”, subverting the traditional Western genre and addressing the suppressed racial history of the American West. A third film taking London as a location and subject, The Last Days of Jack Sheppard (2009), deconstructed the biography of an 18th Century criminal in the context of Britain's first financial crisis, drawing out the connections between speculation, representation and the birth of the novel.

In the artists’ most recent works, they have further addressed the relationship between different orders of representation, and the limits of art as a mode of revolutionary practice. The Empty Plan (2010) centers on Bertolt Brecht’s exile to Los Angeles in the 1940s, and particularly the relationship between theory and practice in his theater. As this film considers a historical and political shift in acting methodologies, Kirschner and Panos’ 2011 video installation, Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances deals with the affective dimension of naturalistic performance. Featuring scenes from an acting workshop and archive footage, the work turns to Sanford Meisner’s techniques for stimulating “authentic” emotion in acting, simultaneously seducing the viewer and confronting her with the mechanisms of that seduction.

Schedule of Events
Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances and viewing stations showing all four Kirschner and Panos films will be installed at Artists Space : Books & Talks from Friday, October 26 – Sunday, November 18, 2012.

These works can be viewed during regular opening hours (Wednesday - Sunday: noon - 6pm) in addition to the following events:

Monday, November 5, 7pm
Polly II - A Plan for a Revolution in Docklands (2006, dur: 30mins)
Screening and discussion with contributing editor to Mute magazine Benedict Seymour and sociologist Sharon Zukin

Wednesday, November 7, 7pm
The Last Days of Jack Sheppard (2009, dur: 56mins)
Screening and introduction by writer Sandra Sherman

Friday, November 16, 7pm
The Empty Plan (2012, dur: 78mins)
Screening and discussion with Anja Kirschner and David Panos, and artist Andrea Geyer

$5 Entrance Donation for all events
Members Free
Limited capacity, entrance on a first come, first serve basis

Anja Kirschner (1977, Munich, Germany) and David Panos (1971, Athens, Greece) live and work in London, UK. They were the winners of the Jarman Award 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include Ultimate Substance, Secession, Vienna (2012); Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2012); The Projecting Stage, castillo/corrales, Paris (2011); and The Empty Plan, Kunsthall Oslo (2011). Their work was also included in the Liverpool Biennial (2012) and the British Art Show 7 (2010/2011).

November 16, 2012

Anja Kirschner and David Panos:
The Empty Plan

Screening & Discussion