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ICA: Lis Rhodes, Reviewed

Dissonance and Disturbance prevails at the Lis Rhodes exhibition

Written by . Published on February 1st 2012.


ICA: Lis Rhodes, Reviewed

Lis Rhodes has been making radical and experimental films since the 1970s, which aim to challenge the viewer’s experience of film as a medium. Dissonance and Disturbance certainly follows suit.

Imagine sitting in a pitch-black room with strangers, sharing that unrestrained reaction of constantly encountering something like nothing you’ve never seen, felt or heard before.

In a bid to uncover “the problem of representation and ownership of the historical narrative” and contest how history is assembled, Rhodes uses images overlapping films that overlap text that overlaps speech. The end result is one of a morphing, evolving, layered jigsaw on a screen. The speech is continuous and yet disjointed. The effect is one of an overindulgent personal monologue, but is in actual fact a series of comments about the history of humanity, not her own, but entirely ours.

Photos by Mark BlowerPhotos by Mark Blower

Imagine sitting in a pitch-black room with strangers, sharing that unrestrained reaction of constantly encountering something like nothing you’ve never seen, felt or heard before. The phrases she uses are dark, hollow and confrontational: 

“…Drama draws brains through the nose. She’d not sneezed for centuries…Necessity prevented her from recognizing herself…The sound of broken glass cut my nose…The illusion of comfort amongst the droppings of history…It was dangerous to step out of line and lethal not to…”

Photos by Mark BlowerPhotos by Mark Blower

Lis Rhodes reaches out to that other side of the brain, the side most people repress and ignore, the parts of history that have been remembered, falsely, in nostalgia. The exhibition realigns what is normal practice, what is expected and what is acceptable, dealing incessantly with the order of things and the processes of deinstitutionalization.

25 January – 25 March 2012

Institute of Contemporary Art
The Mall
SW1Y 5AH

020 7930 3647
www.ica.org.uk

Click here to read our review of the In Numbers exhibition running in parralel at the ICA

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