What's left is politics but even the politics of the commons, of the resistance to enclosure, can only be a politics of ends, a rectitude aimed at the regulatory end of the common. And even when the election that was won turns out to have been lost, and the bomb detonates and/or fails to detonate, the common perseveres as if a kind of elsewhere, here, around, on the ground, surrounding hallucinogenic facts.
(Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study, 2013)
Installations by Fayçal Baghriche, Sandra Brewster, David Hartt and Jeneen Frei Njootli consider historical, present and speculative expansions on the global, as a permanently unfixed, interdependent but disordered whole. The global produced in their work is one borne of collective and underground actions that might resemble Harney’s and Moten’s ‘elsewhere.’
Such observations of globalized entanglement were made by Vancouver-based theorist Denise Ferreira Da Silva who asks in her 2016 essay, On Difference Without Separability, “What if, instead of the Ordered World, we imaged each (human and more-than human) existent consisted not as separate forms relating through the mediation of forces but rather, as singular expressions of each and every other existent as well as of the entangled whole in/as which they exist?”.
Ferreira Da Silva's questions were provoked by the popular, political and legal hostilities that have emerged in response to the influx and movement of refugees and immigrants following economic crises and armed conflicts around the world. However her examination leads her to ask how a modern imaginary, limited by fixed separations of place and time allows the idea of humanity to become an enclosed term, denied to those who are displaced in the Ordered World and therefore objects of cultural difference.
The artists in this exhibition mine transnational counter-flows, cultural dispersions from geographical or social peripheries and alternative representations. Emerging and reclaimed ecologies and sovereignties underline the narratives of colonial trade routes, rebellion and migration in Brewster's work, are the result of the entanglements that comprise Hartt's fictions, mapped out in Frei Njootli's sound work and inferred by the visual dissolution in Baghriche’s installations.
In featuring representations of a shared commons, a pervasive elsewhere to imagine globalized spaces of refuge, this exhibition responds to recent thinking by Moten, Harney and Ferreira Da Silva on how the global can be recuperated, identified and accessed beyond the mediating control of capital and the logic of the modern nation state.
Fayçal Baghriche was born in Skikda, Algeria and studied at Villa Arson, Nice. He is based in Paris, co-founding the La Villa du Lavoir artist residency in 2003 and the collective curatorial structure, Le Comissariat in 2006. Recent solo exhibitions include Le Shed, Centre d’Art de Normandie, France (2017); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2014); The Delfina Foundation, London (2012); Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefelder, Germany (2010); and Le Quartier, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Quimper (2010). Recent group exhibitions include the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018), Villa Arson, Nice (2017), Centro Pecci, Prato (2017), Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden (2017); Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2016); Arab Image Foundation, Beirut (2016); and the 54th Venice Biennale. He is represented by Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris.
Sandra Brewster is a Canadian artist and holds a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. Her work explores themes of identity, representation and memory. Her recent solo exhibition It's all a blur... received the Gattuso Prize at CONTACT Photography Festival (2017). Her work has been featured in recent group exhibitions at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2018); Aljira Contemporary Art Centre, New Jersey (2016); Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John's (2016); and Allegheny Art Galleries, Meadville, Pennsylvania (2015). Brewster recently received a resident fellowship at the Instituto Sacatar, Brazil. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto.
David Hartt is currently based in Philadelphia where he is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin (2017); The Art Institute of Chicago (2015); and Or Gallery, Vancouver (2015). His work has been featured in group exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2017); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); and Canadian Biennial at the National Gallery of Canada (2014). His work is in public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He is a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant (2015) and United States Artists Cruz Fellowship (2012). Hartt is represented by Corbett vs. Demsey, Chicago; David Nolan Gallery, New York; and Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a member of the self-governing Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and is a co-creator of the ReMatriate Collective. Based between the Yukon and unceded Coast Salish territories, she works collaboratively with artists, communities, youth and the land. Sound, performance, fashion, workshops and barbeques are some of the ways Frei Njootli’s practice takes shape. Her work has been exhibited at various institutions including Artspace, Peterborough (2018); Trinity Square Video, Toronto (2016); and Whippersnapper Gallery, Toronto (2013). She was the recipient of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver Artist Prize in 2017.
Denise Ryner is the current Director of Or Gallery in Vancouver. She has presented projects at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; SFU Galleries, Vancouver; VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver; the Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver; Jackman Humanities Institute and 8eleven Project Space, Toronto.