Avi Mograbi, Detail 2 & 3, 2004 (still) Photo courtesy of the Zabludowicz Collection of utopia-dystopia_saturday_web res-46.jpg
Avi Mograbi, speaking at Spaces of Utopia/Distopia at the Zabludowciz Collection, July 2012. Photo courtesy of the Zabludowicz Collection

Troubling Space: The Summer Sessions
4 July - 12 August 2012
Zabludowicz Collection Curatorial Open

Francis Alÿs
Yael Bartana
Walead Beshty
Ethan Breckenridge
Gregory Crewdson
Helene Kazan
Avi Mograbi
Miri Segal
Caragh Thuring
Trisha Baga
Jin Shi
Haegue Yang

Co-curated by Helga Just Christoffersen and Natasha Marie Llorens

Troubling Space: The Summer Sessions was a project about space. We usually think of space as something that is just there, all around us, given. Socio-urban and architectural theory has argued that space is not self-evident, rather that it is socially produced; we produce the city, the digital landscape, office waiting rooms, the postal system, the nation and its territory by the way we live in and occupy it, use it, by what we wait for in it, send through it, and the violence we use to try to control it.

The exhibition presented the work of eleven artists from the Zabludowicz Collection and a new site-specific commission by London-based artist Helene Kazan. In addition, exhibition designer Emil Krøyer has created a furniture system for the Summer Sessions intended to contextualize the events programme in the gallery.

Walead Beshty‘s objects testify to their movement through space, and give form to invisible systems of distribution. Ethan Breckenridge contains corporate architecture of the everyday in tinted glass vitrines. Shi Jin‘s diminutive karaoke machines reference the mobile business models invented on the margins of global financial systems. Helene Kazan explores the use of masking tape on windows as protection against exterior force, from natural catastrophe and human conflict. Caragh Thuring‘s paintings depict the industrial paradigm’s breakdown as formal elements abstracted from their usual contexts: floating cranes and giants pulleys displaced across raw canvases.

Francis Alÿs evokes the memory of protest, demonstrating that the way bodies appear in public is as important as the fact that they gather. The subject of Trisha Baga‘s video work navigates an infinite digital landscape, manipulating both physical and social spaces as part of her sense-making journey. Miri Segal situates the viewer simultaneously in private and public space through a mirror-play, by superimposing the viewer’s reflection on a woman enjoying herself and her lover. Haegue Yang constructs figures out of material culture’s marginalia, endowing these quasi-bodies with the authority of the shaman-figure.

Avi Mograbi captures a confrontation with Israeli Defense Force soldiers and questions who has the right to look, to be filmed, to access space, or deny access to others. With her study of men challenging each other in four-wheelers on a Sunday afternoon, Yael Bartana‘s work mirrors Israel’s deployment of high-tech military equipment and its ephemeral geography of boundaries drawn and transgressed. Gregory Crewdson‘s photographs are suburban portraits, an image of space shaped by disavowed desire.

The Summer Sessions programme was integral to the project: it took recent events in the public space and the shifting (shrinking) space of education as an imperative to put the space of the collection to use, to leave no space un-touched by pedagogy and resistance.

Each weekend's events were centered around a spatial question, with presentations by several of the exhibiting artists as well as a number of invited speakers. The open events included artists' performances on Saturday afternoons and guest lectures or conversations between academics and artists on Sunday afternoon.

Friday 6 – Sunday 8 July
Considered in what spaces commodities, images, truth claims and architectures are produced and distributed.
Participants included Ethan Breckenridge, Helene Kazan and Caragh Thuring.

Friday 13 – Sunday 15 July
Looked at how the body is produced by the space it moves through, and how it in turn produces that space.
Participants included Trisha Baga, Cliff Borress, Yelena Popova, Miri Segal, Debra Benita Shaw.

Friday 20 – Sunday 22 July
Aimed to flesh out society's persistent, even relentless production of non-places and spaces of imagination.
Participants included Thomas Keenan, Avi Mograbi and Brad Samuels.

A full catalogue is available for download here.

Financial Times: The Invisible Interpreters
Mousse Magazine: Troubling Space

Troubling Space: The Summer Sessions was selected from over 100 entries to the Zabludowicz Collection Curatorial Open by a panel comprised of Chris Dercon, Martin Herbert, Maria Lind, and Anita Zabludowicz.