A group exhibition in video format, Faraway So Close features a selection of films and videos imagining the ways in which artists re-write history.
In Carta Abierta a Dr. Atl (Open Letter to Dr. Atl) (2005), Mario Garcia Torres (b. 1975, Mexico) superimposes subtitles onto a slow, roving shot of Barranca de Oblatos, a breathtaking canyon outside Guadalajara. The subtitles narrate a fictional letter Garcia Torres wrote to the late landscape painter Gerardo Murillo (Dr. Atl), posing questions to the artist about the Guggenheim Museum’s potential plans to move a new branch of the museum to this site, the subject of numerous of the painter’s canvases.
David Maljkovic (b. 1973, Croatia) presents These Days (2005), a film that features a group of young people sitting in cars outside the Italian Pavilion for the Zagreb Fair, an annual event during the 1960s and 70s overseen by Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito, which encouraged increased economic and cultural relations between the perceived East and West. The characters in the video repeat simple phrases in English until the phrases become absurd and meaningless, pointing to the discrepancy between the fair’s goals and lived reality.
In Rä di Martino’s (1975, Italy) video Petite histoire des plateaux abandonnés (2012), two children recite lines from the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia in front of the abandoned backdrops of this and many other films that have been shot against the surrounding Moroccan terrain. Within the worn and windblown sets of this iconic film, a strange atemporality emerges.
Paloma Polo (b. 1983, Spain) shows Action at a Distance (2012), a work filmed off the western coast of Africa on the island of Príncipe, the site of British astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 scientific excursion, undertaken to prove Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity through photographing eclipses. The film seeks to highlight the reality of the island, whose people and landscape were systematically erased – or ignored – in the records of Eddington’s expedition.
Rä di Martino, Petite histoire des plateaux abandonnès (Short History of Abandoned Sets), 2012. HD video; 8 minutes, 20 seconds. Courtesy the artist.