Whitechapel Project Space, London
Break 4: Opening, 10. March 2005










Break 4: Opening at Whitechapel Project Space
on Thursday 10th March


The exhibition at Whitechapel Project Space concludes the six-month process of exchanges. It brings together the artists? research as well as functions in itself as another element of it, another shared moment of experimentation and reflection. The main challenge the artists have faced in the project is how to make contact with a foreign city on a brief visit: how can one reach beyond the city?s façade, what do the known landmarks and other expectations allow one to discover, and how do the similarities and differences to one?s home city direct these engagements.

The exhibition now draws attention to the blurry boundary negotiated by these investigations between the specificity of the cities and more general urban concerns. The artists have followed different paths and methods, developing from observation and collection to translation and intervention. The many slight and often indefinable differences encountered between the two cities made apparent the problems of comparison as well as unsettled the accustomed significations in both. The works based on this research map out a number of points of contact available for a visitor in a city. They suggest possibilities for closer engagement with the city and its inhabitants, and reflect both the desires and difficulties to attain this.

Monuments seem to resist change yet simultaneously appear as potential gates for time travel through the cities? layers of history (Abigail?s books). They also offer themselves and their symbolic charge for various readings e.g. through personal mapping and remodelling (Chris? works). Buildings stand as shields, impenetrable even in their contemporary transparency (Anu?s video), while in a subtle gesture they can be seen as surfaces available for individual expressions that may disrupt the flow of impersonal signs in the public sphere (Simo?s stencil drawings). Erasing text draws attention to the variations in visual messaging in the different cities (Irit & Isaac?s Metro-papers). Public spaces appear as routes of journeys and as stages for narratives (Irit and Isaac?s panoramas), where the routines and fixed coordinates may also be ruptured by sudden indecisiveness (Minna?s videos).

The question finally raised and not entirely solved is how the six-month process ? the many productive interactions as well as the limitations encountered ? can be made tangible in the exhibition, which aims to present modes of working never simply captured in the so-called end products.