Pine's Eye

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Installation view of Haegue Yang: ETA 1994–2018, Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Installation view of Haegue Yang: ETA 1994–2018, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 2018
 Photo: © Museum Ludwig, Saša Fuis, Cologne

Firelei Báez, Beau Dick, Laurent Grasso, Alan Hunt, Torsten Lauschmann, Ana Mendieta, Kevin Mooney, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Taryn Simon, Johanna Unzueta, Lois Weinberger, Haegue Yang

Pine’s Eye explores what it means to be human in times of ecological change. Taking its name from 'Pinocchio' (the Italian for ‘pine eye’ or ‘kernel’) it is necessarily tricky and mischievous as it weaves a journey between subjectivities entangled in the natural world. Rejecting progress, purity, standardisation and originality it: creates new forms of ritual, reframes modernism as a pagan pursuit, asks flowers to bear witness to global treaties, observes the hybrid human and botanical cultures of enchanted islands, introduces inexplicable phenomenon into representations of early modern history, cultivates the weeds of European cities as a form of resistance, imagines alternatives to colonialism and introduces indigenous tales of the forest.

Through masks, mannequins and magic, Pine’s Eye offers alternative perspectives for how we understand ourselves in the face of environmental crisis. Including contemporary artists from both indigenous groups and the international artworld it features: Firelei Báez, Beau Dick, Laurent Grasso, Alan Hunt, Torsten Lauschmann, Ana Mendieta, Kevin Mooney, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Taryn Simon, Johanna Unzueta, Lois Weinberger, Haegue Yang

Dominican artist Firelei Báez makes work that critically engages with black female subjectivity, remaking art historical narratives by empowering regional mythologies. In 'I write love poems, too (The right to non-imperative clarities)' Báez mines pages of historic books that have been deemed irrelevant or inappropriate, to highlight and depict what or who is missing from the pages, whose stories are not told. Beau Dick (1955-2017) was a chief of the Kwakwaka’wakw of North West America who made carvings about the stories important to this culture’s cosmology. Hereditary Chief Alan Hunt and the Kwakwaka’wakw community will present 15 new masks that will be worn in a performance ceremony in Edinburgh, the first of its kind outside of Canada. Speck and Hunt’s masks represent the Atlakim story, the story of a boy who gets lost in the woods to be visited by many guiding spirits who teach him virtues. French artist Laurent Grasso is concerned with the relationship between art and science. 'Studies into the Past' establishes a false historical memory by inserting mysterious phenomenon into Renaissance-style images, disrupting our sense of this Euro-centric history and asking us to find a sense of wonder and strangeness in this hybrid, protomodern period of knowledge acquisition. Torsten Lauschmann uses different types and eras of technology to create mechanical and digital hybrids, automatons and sound machines. Ana Mendieta (1948- 1985), the legendary Cuban American artist, dedicated much of her career to exploring the “earth-body”. Delving into Mexican folklore, she used her own body as the site for staged ritual events that would unite her with the natural world. Her drawings derive from the performances and capture a sense of a timeless mother figure; seeds, kernels and eyes of humanity. Kevin Mooney is based in Cork and his intuitive paintings reinterpret Ireland’s colonial history and its stifled cultural heritage. Using layered imagery that incorporates straw, veiled figures and enigmatic forms, Mooney imagines how different this history could have been through collision with indigenous African and Caribbean cultures. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz makes documentary films that often centre on the ecology of her native Puerto Rico. The selection of films in Pine’s Eye explore how the hallucinogenic and toxic plants of this region have both expanded the mind and led to human tragedies, their role in magic and the changing everyday nature of the island as a result of tourism and adaptation. American artist Taryn Simon spent three years working with a botanist in order to be able to understand the composition of the flower arrangements appearing in photographs showing the signing of treaties, trade agreements and diplomatic accords. The large reconstructed bouquets in 'Paperwork and the Will of Capital' bear witness to changing global politics, whilst evoking Dutch still lifes and the impossible bouquet, where flowers that would not naturally bloom at the same time of year were painted into a single image. Johanna Unzueta is a Chilean artist who has dedicated much of her practice to understanding the tactility of industrial labour. Her drawings – which can take the form of large site-specific murals – evoke life cycles, play, plant life, weaving and intuition. Lois Weinberger lives and works in Austria. Seeing the garden as the antithesis of nature – orderly, designed, made on a human scale – Weinberger instead pursues an interest in ruderals – the ‘weeds’ that fight back against the logic of the city – and his practice revolves around inviting fungi into controlled spaces, designating ‘empty’ plots of land that develop their own ecologies, and displaying the organic debris of plants and animals growing in the recesses of our built environments. Haegue Yang presents an ensemble of sculptures from The Intermediates series on top of a nonagon shaped floor graphic with a new sound element synthesising her own voice, blending ideas of modernity, estrangement, pagan traditions and folk cultures to unsettle familiar hierarchies.

Exhibition Guide

Published on the occasion of 'Pine's Eye' at Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh. With texts by James Clegg, Assistant Curator.

The Exhibition Guide will be available following the exhibition opening.

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