Positions #2 brings together an ambitious and significant body of works by Anna Boghiguian, Chia-Wei Hsu, Nástio Mosquito and Sarah Pierce. Coming from different regions of the world, these four innovative artists have all come to international prominence over the last few years. They will for the first time show a major part of their oeuvre, including new projects, in the Netherlands. The works are loosely grouped around the thematic of history, testimony and storytelling. Their personal view is deployed in a variety of media: paintings, installations, performances and videos.
Anna Boghiguian lives and works in Cairo, Egypt and elsewhere. She is a prolific artist who constantly draws and paints on location using ancient history and contemporary events as a source. Boghiguian’s drawings, objects, poetry and prose operate both as reflections on the geopolitical conditions in which her subjects live, and as documents of the cities through which she travels. Along with drawings and paintings, the exhibition will consist of a series of new displays, including The Salt Traders (which premiered at the Istanbul Biennial 2015), Ani (developed for the Venice Biennial 2015), and a new installation developed at the Van Abbemuseum bringing together her series of Scissors books and paintings.
In his video works, Chia-Wei Hsu (lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan) uses contemporary forms of the old tradition of storytelling to connect past and present. The practice Hsu is often connected to Taiwan and the history of geopolitics in this region, especially during the period of the Cold War. Through retelling forgotten histories, he shows how the dense and complex layers of culture and histories fundamentally transform the lives of people in the modern age.
The exhibition shows works situated on the Thai-Burmese border: two videos - Ruins of the Intelligence Bureau (2015) and Huai-Mo Village (2012) -, a maquette and a new architectural study of the ruins of a CIA office (Memorial Chamber of the Intelligence Bureau).
Nástio Mosquito (lives and works in Belgium) is rooted in the broadcast industry, where he worked as director and cameraman. Music, language and testimony lie at the core of his practice. The characters he plays in his works and performances may be fictional or composited of many experiences or positions, but fundamental to his work is the idea that these stories and emotions reside in the individual and are experienced through the body. He plays with, performs and undermines language, and the resulting installations are emotive and provocative. In this exhibition he will show two major video installations alongside each other, Ser Humano (2015) and I Am Naked (2005).
Sarah Pierce (lives and works in Dublin, Ireland) works with performance, installations, video and archival material to research sites and contexts of artistic production and their public display. This place is often the institution where she plays with the terms of making and mediating art, past artworks, forgotten objects and left-overs of exhibitions. In a series of three installations she examines fixed and sedimented histories, referring to artistic figures of the 20th century: Eva Hesse (in Meaning of Greatness, 2006), Joseph Beuys (in Intelligence of the Measured Hand, 2011), and El Lissitzky and Alice Milligan (in Gag, 2015).
During the course of the exhibition there is a programme of public events.
• 28.11.2015, 4.30 pm: A performance by Sarah Pierce during the opening of Positions #2.
• 10.12.2015, 7.30 p.m.: An artist talk with Chia-Wei Hsu.
• Thu 17.03.2016, 7-9 p.m.: Now is forever lasting constant in the mind. an event curated by Pádraic E. Moore consisting of talks, screenings, readings and sounds in response to Sarah Pierce’s art works at the Van Abbemuseum. Location: Studio Van Abbemuseum.
• Sun 20.03.2016: A lecture on El Lissitzky in relation to Sarah Pierce’s work Gag by Willem-Jan Renders, curator Russian Art at the Van Abbemuseum
• Thu 24.03, 7.30 p.m.: Honey on Razor edge. Artist in Conversation: Anna Boghiguian and curator Annie Fletcher.
In 2014 the Van Abbemuseum started the exhibition series Positions, that sets a series of projects in dialogue with one another in the ten galleries of the museum's old building. Positions explores different tones of contemporary artistic voices.
The work Gag by Sarah Pierce was realised in collaboration with the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The work Ruins of the Intelligence Bureau by Chia-Wei Hsu was realised in collaboration with Le Fresnoy, Lille. Anna Boghiguian’s new work The Salt Traders was commissioned as part of the Istanbul Biennial 2015.