Michael Armitage, Ruth Claxton, Tiffany Chung, Siobhan Hapaska, Isaac Julien
Some Are Nights Others Stars brings together a diverse selection of international artists whose works embody the contrasting experiences of displacement, loss and separation with the dynamic possibilities of movement, transformation and remembrance. Presented as an interrelated set of experiences, the exhibition weaves together concerns about land, architecture, progress, utopian dreams, inequality, trauma and resistance that refer as much to imagined futures as to the historical past.
Encompassing film, installation, sculpture, painting and drawing, this major exhibition occupies the unique architecture of Towner’s Ground Floor Gallery. Though the selected artists vary in approach, consistent within all the works is their critical engagement, emotional power and ability to create interweaving narratives that suggest multiple states and histories.
The title of the exhibition alludes to the poem Ashes by Serbian poet Vasco Popa that begins in loss and rallies against destructive forces and dehumanisation until we become the dreamer and the dreamt, ‘both stars and night’.
Siobhan Hapaska – Intifada (Shaking Off)
Explanatory leaflet in Exhibition Diary.
The part that is not obvious is that each olive tree has some kind of motor around its truck and they are constantly gyrating. Which means that the whole piece is moving all the time as the leaves are falling the straps that are attached to the trees and to the building are all vibrating. It is also quite noisy – I am not sure if it meant to sound like gunfire or not.
The whole piece feels monumental and inhabits the large space with great presence. I was affected by both the ideas behind the piece and its actuality. The trees have literally been pulled up and their roots are in the air – the people are rootless without their land and their produce.