Ghosts in the Machine

August 11–October 20, 2007

516 ARTS is pleased to announce Ghosts in the Machine, an exhibition of internationally renowned video artists presented with SITE Santa Fe on both floors of 516 ARTS in Downtown Albuquerque. In the spirit of inter-city collaboration, SITE Santa Fe and 516 ARTS are working together to build our mutual audiences and showcase our region as a center for contemporary art. The exhibition is curated by SITE Santa Fe and features the work of Jeremy Blake (US), Johanna Domke (Germany), Isaac Julien (UK), Ana Mendieta (Cuba), Hiraki Sawa (Japan) and Eve Sussman (US).

Though diverse in style and presentation, the works by these artists share a concern with the formal aesthetics and technical capabilities of the video medium. Traditional subjects such as time, memory and history appear in the forms of silhouettes and shadows and are also explored through a variety of digital editing techniques, including, cross-fading, time remapping and image distortion that create unnatural, otherworldly effects.

Although more than twenty years separate True North (2004) and Alma Silueta en Fuego (Soul Silhouette on Fire) (1975), created by Isaac Julien and Ana Mendieta respectively, both artists use the traditional subject of the figure and landscape to explore notions of race, exile and the Other. Eve Sussman also raids history; in 89 Seconds at Alcázar (2004), Sussman takes Diego Velázquez’s seventeenth-century painting Las Meninas as her subject, imagining the events leading up to one of the most famous family portraits captured in paint — one, which in fact, never took place. In Let the wind blow (2003), Johanna Domke collapses time in ways that allude to how we accept fragmented, manipulated expressions of time as reality. Jeremy Blake merges abstract and representational imagery in Winchester (2002) in an attempt to convey the dissolution of one woman’s psychological state, while Hiraki Sawa’s surrealistic, black and white Trail (2005) blends reverie with classic elements of cinema to hypnotic effect.

Often blurring the lines between fact and fiction, absence and presence, and materiality and immateriality, among others, the works in Ghosts in the Machine address our changing notions of time and the fabricated, illusory nature of images that characterize our digital age. Although visual lushness and dream-like qualities underscore much of the work in this exhibition, these artists use video to speak broadly and eloquently about issues of cultural identity, power, gender, madness and loss.

Gallery Talk with Laura Steward Heon: Friday, September 21, 5:30pm

Laura Steward Heon is the Director/Curator of SITE Santa Fe, a non-profit contemporary art space located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, known nationally and internationally for its biennial exhibitions, as well as its contemporary art programming. Appointed to the position in April 2005, she came to SITE from MASS MoCA, one of the world’s largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts, where she was the founding curator. A graduate of Harvard University and the Williams/Clark Graduate Program in the History of Art, prior to her post at MASS MoCA, Heon worked in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her exhibitions have received several important awards, including an AICA prize for best installation for Ann Hamilton: corpus and a New England AICA for Cai Guo-Qiang: Innopportune. She has taught art history at Williams College and Bennington College.


SITE Santa Fe is a private not-for-profit, non-collecting, contemporary arts organization committed to enriching the cultural life of Santa Fe and beyond by providing an ongoing venue for exhibitions of artists who merit international recognition and complimentary multidisciplinary public programs. Its International Biennial is a crucial part of this mission. SITE Santa Fe belongs at the forefront of contemporary art presentation. It is flexible, foresighted and risk-taking in its exhibitions and programs. Since the first biennial in 1995, it has earned a stellar reputation among an international group of non-collecting exhibition spaces (Kunsthallen) around the globe. Ghosts in the Machine is made possible, in part, by generous support from the Board of Directors of SITE Santa Fe, as well as the following institutions and individuals: The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, The Burnett Foundation, New Mexico Arts — a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Thaw Charitable Trust, The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and the 1% Lodgers’ Tax.

image above: True North Series by Isaac Julien, 2005, unframed, cibachrome laminated on aluminum museum box, 39.37 x 39.37 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures