Rosalind Nashashibi

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London’s ICA is currently showing new works by artist Rosalind Nashashibi. This solo exhibition aims to present a comprehensive look at Nashashibi’s work at a time when she is emerging as a prominent British film artist. Despite Nashashibi’s relatively young career and the fact that the earliest work included in the exhibition dates to 2005, the breadth and evolution of the artist’s work is evident in the five films and two photographic series on view. While Nashashibi’s career began with an observational, almost documentary-style approach of depicting the everyday, the ICA gallery visitor is presented with the artist’s developing focus upon the transformative potential of cinema and theatre.

In Eyeballing (16mm film with sound, 10 min) from 2005, images of uniformed New York City police officers alternate with anthropomorphic images (or ‘masks’) of the human face found in features of the city, such as fire hydrants and shop windows. This is a pivotal film for Nashashibi in the way it visualizes theatrical transformation in an everyday context. While Nashashibi primarily works in 16 mm film, photography remains an important aspect of her oeuvre for its utility in exploring recurring themes in her work. In Rehearsal (2009), a new photographic installation, features over 100 silver gelatin prints along with a sound recording – both depicting a specific theatre rehearsal. This work literalizes and dramatizes the artist’s interest in ‘physicalization’ or the transformation of people into characters.

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Jack Straw’s Castle (2009, 16 mm film with sound), a new commission, alternates between real footage set in day light and dramatized footage that is set at night. The film begins with various real footage shots of a London park and a cruising area. The artist’s mother, Pauline Nashashibi, bridges the two halves of the film as she walks through the park at dusk and happens upon and interacts with a film set in a clearing. The artist’s primary focus in this work is rather self reflexive. According to ICA’s website, the film aims to evoke ‘the dream space of cinema’ or to articulate film’s potential for metamorphosis.

The ICA exhibition, Rosalind Nashashibi, is accompanied by a catalogue publication. It will be on view through 1 November 2009. The show is then set to open on 13 November in Norway’s Bergen Kunsthall where it will remain until 20 December 2009.

Rosalind Nashashibi received her MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2000. The artist, who has shown internationally, is currently represented by Doggerfisher in Edinburgh while living and working in London. Nashashibi has been selected by the British Council for the Accented Residency Programme at Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, which she will complete in November and December of this year.

For this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Doggerfisher presented new work from Nashashibi in partnership with artist Lucy Skaer – a duo that has repeatedly collaborated since 2005. Nashashibi / Skaer’s film installation Our Magnolia (2009) remains on view through 25 September – closing at the end of this week.

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